Is sleep something you need more of or at least better quality?
Have you ever heard of the fast metabolism sleep connection?
Something very important that most people aren’t aware of is that a healthy metabolism isn’t just necessary to promote fat loss; it’s also crucial for proper restorative sleep.
You might think you get enough sleep every night, but the real question is, what is the quality of your sleep?
A proper functioning metabolism (read: fast) is most essential for improving the quality of your sleep.
The compilation of a fast metabolism
Now, when I’m talking about a fast metabolism that produces lots of energy, I’m not talking about being hyper and wired. Those traits are mainly due to an imbalance in neurotransmitters namely noradrenaline, adrenaline, histamine and glutamate.
These people struggle to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. With a fast metabolism, I’m talking about having optimal thyroid function that keeps energy and androgen production high while keeping stress hormones low.
Stress hormones, such as cortisol, serotonin and the catecholamines are usually elevated during stress, but also when thyroid function is insufficient/suboptimal.
When stress becomes chronic it starts to do more long term negative changes to the body which can become very difficult to reverse. These changes include a chronic increase in serotonin, cortisol, estrogen and catecholamines as well as a drop in ATP and carbon dioxide (CO2) production.
The beneficial substances, ATP and CO2 (which are the end products of the complete utilization of carbohydrates, such as sugar, and fats) are increased under the influence of thyroid hormones.
Now you might think that thyroid is stimulating and serotonin is needed for proper sleep, right?
Well, this is where it gets interesting…
Thyroid involvement in sleep
Thyroid hormones consist of more than just two hormones, with T4 and T3 being the most well-known. Other metabolites include 3,5 diiodothyronine (3,5-T2), 3-iodothyroanamine (T1AM) and 3-iodothyroacetic acid (TA1) just to name a few. The reason I mention this is because although T3 is stimulating, T1AM has the opposite effect and promotes proper sleep.
Research found that people with low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) have reduced sleep efficiency, slow wave sleep (the deep and restorative part of sleep) and experience an earlier rise in cortisol in the mornings which causes them to experience shallow sleep with frequent awakenings (R).
A very high percentage of people with hypothyroidism have sleep apnea, snore and wake up poofy due to water retention (excess estrogen for one). Thyroid hormone therapy is shown to correct this over time (R, R).
The reduction in sleep quality is greatly due to low CO2 production, which is a consequence of low thyroid hormones. Thyroid increases glucose oxidation which increases energy (ATP) and CO2 production.
High energy state for sleep
A high energy state, as a result of thyroid hormones, is essential for repair and restoration in the body.
Thus a low energy state leads to brain atrophy. We all know that most of the repair in the body takes place during sleep, so having a fast metabolism and high energy is crucial to maximize regeneration which will correlate directly with health and longevity.
Luckily, a high energy state also promotes proper sleep in itself. Vitamin B1, red light and methylene blue, which increase energy production, promote restful and restorative sleep.
Proper thyroid hormone levels and CO2 production helps to keep stress and excitatory hormones such as cortisol, serotonin, estrogen, histamine and acetylcholine low.
Serotonin and sleep
Now you might think, wait a moment, doesn’t serotonin promote sleep? Isn’t that why 5-HTP is sold in sleep supplements?
We were all made to believe that serotonin is good for you, but check this out: Acute REM sleep behavior disorder can be induced by the use of antidepressants, especially serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Overall, serotonin promotes the wake state and inhibits REM sleep (R).
Sedating anti-depressants on the other hand, like mirtazapine, promote sleep, but if you look at its mechanism of action, it’s anti-cholinergic, anti-histaminergic, anti-adrenergic, and it doesn’t affect serotonin levels itself; it’s actually an antagonist on the 5-HT2A and 2C receptors.
Serotonin receptor 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C promotes the release of glutamate and cortisol respectively; both of which promote the wake state.
Melatonin, similar to serotonin, is elevated in the hypothyroid state, showing that proper thyroid, energy and CO2 production is the most important for proper sleep (R).
The importance of carbon dioxide
When thyroid and carbon dioxide (CO2) is reduced, these stress hormones (mentioned above) increase and although they might promote fatigue, lethargy and a wired feeling at the same time, they do not promote proper sleep, but more of a hibernation state which is not restorative. And as a results you wake up groggy and don’t feel rested. The wired but tired feeling is a sure tell/sign/indication that thyroid and CO2 production isn’t optimal.
Carbon dioxide, which is a product of a fast metabolism, is truly a remarkable and high beneficial molecule. Breathing into a paper bag has potent relaxing properties when someone is stressed out because it increases the concentrations of CO2 in the body.
But we don’t necessarily want to rely on different breathing techniques to increase CO2, although they can be mighty helpful, we want a fast metabolism that automatically generates lots of CO2.
Supplements that increase CO2 production such as vitamin B1, CoQ10, and vitamins C and E are also shown to improve sleep quality and reduce sleep apnea (R).
Androgens and sleep
Another important aspect of a fast metabolism is having elevated androgens. Androgen production is significantly elevated in the hyperthyroid state and people with hypothyroidism often have depressed androgen levels.
The protective youthful steroids, such as pregnenolone, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone and dehydrotestosterone (DHT) are high when thyroid function is optimal and serotonin, estrogen, prolactin are kept low.
With hypothyroidism the progesterone to estrogen ratio and the DHEA to cortisol ratio drops which makes the body vulnerable to their destructive properties.
Pregenolone (R), progesterone (R), DHEA (R), testosterone (R) and 5-alpha reduced steroids such as allopregnanolone increase sleep efficiency, quality and slow wave sleep and reduce day time sleepiness, whereas estrogen and cortisol have the opposite effect (R).
These protective steroids are also potent respiratory stimulants, which increase CO2 production and decrease in the number of central and obstructive sleep apnea episodes.
Supplementing these steroids will also have the same effect, but again, we want these hormones naturally high and a fast metabolism will give that to us.
Body temperature and sleep quality
Last but not least, a fast metabolism increases body temperature. Why is this important?
A lower body temperature, due to hypothyroidism, reduces sleep quality. Increasing the body’s temperature by even 0.4°C suppresses nocturnal wakefulness and shifts sleep to deeper stages.
In a state of hypothyroid, blood flow is reduced to the skin and extremities and that is why people with low thyroid hormones have cold hands and feet. This significantly reduces sleep quality and cold feet actually promotes inflammation.
On the other hand, the inability to cool off through cutaneous vasodilation, which is inhibited by serotonin, histamine, cortisol and the catecholamines are involved in increasing temps and reducing cooling and messing with sleep (R).
That is why glycine, which drops core temperature to sleep values, reduces time spent falling asleep and improves sleep depth because it lowers serotonin synthesis and antagonizes the 5-HT2 receptors, which are excitatory.
Starting to see how important having a fast metabolism is for proper sleep?
But not only does a fast metabolism have to be prioritized, but also sleep as both influence the other. Sleep deprivation is anti-metabolic and increases serotonin levels.
Chronic sleep deprivation, which desensitizes the autoreceptor 5-HT1A, can lead to chronic fatigue and brain fog due to chronically elevated serotonin. Proper sleep needs to be prioritized every single night (R).
If you want to speed up your metabolism for proper sleep, get my guide on the top 16 tips, tricks and supplements to achieve that.
As always, thanks so much for reading my article. Let me know if this article was helpful in the comments below.
If you found it helpful and insightful please like and share so others can also benefit from this information and feel free to leave a comment down below if you have any questions for me.
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