sleep icon bed with zzzz's

TN50#31, Melatonin’s Indirect Effect on Blood Sugar, 2 August 2021

Hi Team,

Happy Monday and welcome to The Next 50 #31.

Melatonin is an amazing hormone.  A goal for everyone desiring a good night of sleep should be to elevate their natural melatonin levels in the evening with solid sleep hygiene protocols.  For good melatonin production, one big one is minimizing blue light exposure the last few hours before bed.  Melatonin can also be bought over the counter and taken as a supplement to help people sleep.

Here is what you might not know.  Melatonin (naturally produced or over the counter) doesn’t just affect your brain and send your mind to La-La-Land, one of the other things melatonin affects is your pancreas and it sends your beta cells to La-La-Land.  “What’s a beta cell?”  Glad you asked!  Beta cells are part of the pancreas, beta cells release insulin whenever your blood sugar goes up.  Insulin signals your cells to take up blood sugar to help maintain a healthy level of glucose in the bloodstream.

Here’s my question: What do you think happens if you eat or drink carbohydrates late at night or early in the morning when your melatonin levels are elevated?

That’s right, your blood sugar goes up and it stays elevated because your beta cells are half asleep.  Elevated Blood Sugar is Bad – full stop!

The easy way to mitigate this risk is to stop eating/drinking calories a few hours before bed and to not eat/drink calories for the first couple hours when you get up.  This is a good example of leveraging your EAT to support your SLEEP.

If you lose your mind and find yourself “carbing up” close to bedtime you should go for a walk, ride your assault bike or get on your rower for a low output 15 to 30-minute session, you will deplete the energy stores in muscle tissue and your muscle cells will pull glucose out of your bloodstream – no insulin required.  This works in the morning too, and you can go harder.  This is another good example of your MOVE supporting your EAT and SLEEP.

As always, I would love it if you shared your thoughts on this entry (side note: I have a goal of answering every email I get on these entries going forward) and please share this with your tribe if you think it would be useful.

Have a good one, Alex

2022 Murph Count: 10

P.S.  I know this is shallow, if you want to deep-dive on anything I touched on in this email just let me know.