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Sleep And Weight Loss: Are They Really Related


If you’re attempting to shed pounds but the needle on the scale isn’t moving, it’s time to examine your sleeping patterns.
We all need a good night’s sleep, yet we often fail to make it a priority.

Obesity and other[1] health problems might be worsened if you don’t get the required amount of sleep each night.

Sleep deprivation may be a contributing[2] factor in weight gain. How your sleep patterns affect your capacity to shed pounds and how sleep deprivation affects your appetite are among the scientific findings presented here.

Sleep and weightloss

Relation Between Sleep Duration And Weight

The total amount of time that Americans spend while sleeping has progressively dropped over the past few decades, as has the quality of that sleep.

This coincided with a rise in the average American’s body mass index (BMI), indicating a general trend[3] towards heavier weights and increasing rates of obesity.

Researchers have begun to speculate about possible links between weight gain and sleep deprivation as a result of these patterns emerging.

Sleep deprivation and poor quality of sleep have been linked to a high risk of obesity and other long-term health problems, according to numerous research studies.

While the medical world continues to debate the actual nature of this connection, the existing data alludes to a beneficial correlation between sound sleep and healthy body weight.

How is Better Sleep Linked to Weight Loss?

Exercise and a sensible eating plan are essential if you want to shed pounds, but so does getting more shut-eye. As a result, a large percentage of the population is chronically sleep-deprived.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims[5] that approximately 35 percent of American adults sleep less than seven hours per night regularly.

Sleep deprivation is defined as having less than[6] seven hours of uninterrupted shut-eye per night.

Interestingly, increasing evidence suggests that lack of sleep may be the reason why many people are unable to shed pounds.

To shed pounds, these are some of the benefits of getting sufficient sleep-

  1. Better Sleep Can Moderate Your Appetite

    When you’re sleep-deprived, you may experience an increase in your caloric intake and an increase in your hunger.

    A lack of sleep has been linked to increased hunger and higher calorie consumption in the general population, according to numerous[7] scientific research.

    Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased caloric intake of 385 calories a day, with a higher percentage of those calories derived from fat than is typical.

    Furthermore, sleep deprivation was linked to an increase in the desire for junk food and larger portions, as well as an increase in the consumption of chocolate and fat.

    Ghrelin and leptin, hunger hormones, are believed[8] to play a role in the rise in food consumption and energy balance in the body.

  2. Effective In Stress Level And Anxiety

    The stress hormone cortisol, which induces water retention and stimulates hunger, is elevated in people who don’t get enough rest.

    When you’re stressed, your body wants to simulate serotonin, which helps[9] you relax, and the quickest way to achieve this is to eat high-fat, high-carb foods.

    Taking an adequate amount of sleep can prohibit you from getting stressed. If you face anxiety issues, you might want to follow points on how to sleep better with anxiety.

  3. Short-Term Sleep Deprivation Is Linked To An Increased Risk Of Weight Gain

    Many studies have connected a lack of sleep (defined as less than seven hours per night) to a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) and weight gain.
    Moreover, as per this[10] randomized study, lack of sleep could make you tend to eat more calorie-dense foods and it might become too hard to resist eating them.

    Obesity risk was 41% higher among adults who slept less than 7 hours each night, according to a review of 20 research that included 300,000 people.

    However, those who slept more were less likely to become obese than those who slept less. Having a smaller waist circumference is a good indicator of the growth of belly fat, according to another study.

  4. Being Well-Rested May Help You Make Better Food Choices

    A lack of sleep affects the normal functioning of your brain and can influence your decision-making.

    As a result, it may be more difficult to stick to a healthy diet and avoid indulging in unhealthy temptations. The reward areas of the brain appear to be more triggered by food in case you are sleep deprived, according to new research.

    It has been shown that sleep-deprived people exhibit stronger brain reward responses when they are shown images of high-calorie foods.

    People who didn’t get enough sleep were also shown to be more[11] inclined to spend more money on food than those who did.

    The chocolate and snacks stored in your refrigerator are more enticing after a restless night’s sleep, and you’ll have a harder time restraining yourself from indulging.

  5. Sleep and Metabolism are Linked

    One could easily understand that sleep and metabolism are closely related. For this very reason, a night of proper sleep is one of the best ways and most natural ways to boost metabolism.

    Slumber is like food for the mind. Most people require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Getting less than that will cause different kinds of responses from your body.

    Sleep deprivation causes an increase[12] in cortisol. This stress hormone tells your body to save energy to have enough to last you through the night.

    A study indicated that dieters’ fat loss plummeted by 55% when they reduced their sleep by 14 hours during 14 days, even though their calorie intake remained unchanged.

    As a result, they were constantly on the verge of becoming hungry and unmotivated even hours after eating.

    Scientists at the University of Chicago suggest that being “metabolically sluggish” is caused by chronic sleep loss.

    It takes four days for your body to lose its capacity to digest insulin, a hormone that converts sugar, carbohydrates, and other food into energy.

    The researchers discovered a substantial reduction in insulin sensitivity, which calculated a decrease of almost 30%.

Why Is Sleep So Crucial For Weight Loss?

Losing fat and muscle mass when on a calorie-restricted diet can be hampered if proper sleep is not obtained.

It has been observed that sleeping less than eight hours per night while on a rigorous calorie-restricted diet causes less fat loss than sleeping more than eight hours per night.

It is essential to get an adequate[13] amount of sleep as it could make a positive impact on weight loss.

When sleep was lowered by one hour per night for five evenings a week in another trial, the consequences were very comparable over eight weeks.
According to these findings, even catching up on lost sleep during a calorie-controlled diet on the weekends may not be enough[14] to undo the damage done by sleep deprivation.

How To Get A Better Night's Rest

Modern technology makes it tough to get enough shut-eye, especially with so many screens (computers, televisions, cell phones, and tablets) to keep you up later than you’d like.

As far as the fundamentals go –

  • At the very least, turn off your internet, phone, and TV at least an hour before you go to bed to allow yourself to wind down.
  • Rest and sex should only be done in your bedroom.
  • Rely on your sense of well-being rather than your need for amusement or employment.
  • Be sure to establish a bedtime routine. The moment has not yet come to deal with significant challenges. So, relax with a hot bath, meditation, or a good book.
  • Maintain a regular sleep and wake-up routine, including on weekends. There are several[15] other ways to get better sleep.
  • Keep an eye on what and when you eat. Prevent heartburn and difficulty falling asleep by avoiding large meals and drinking alcohol within three hours of bed. After 2 p.m., avoid caffeinated beverages such as soda, tea, coffee, and chocolate.
  • Your body can retain caffeine for up to six hours. Thus, one could infer that caffeine may affect[16] sleep quality.
  • Do not leave any lights switched on.


Exercise and diet are commonly regarded as the two most important determinants of success in the fight against obesity.

An often-overlooked aspect of one’s daily routine, sleep is an essential part of healthy living. Click here to know about the importance of exercise and diet for obesity.

Adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep every night, but this is often not the case for many people.

Reduced sleep has been related to increased body fat and a higher risk of obesity, as well as affecting how quickly you shed pounds on a diet that restricts your caloric intake, according to recent studies.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Obesity, available from https://www.nutrition.gov/topics/diet-and-health-conditions/overweight-and-obesity
  2. Sleep depivation available from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep-deprivation
  3. Body Mass Index available from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/index.html
  4. Jean-Philippe Chaput, MSc, Jean-Pierre Després, PhD, Claude Bouchard, et al. The Association Between Sleep Duration and Weight Gain in Adults: A 6-Year Prospective Study from the Quebec Family Study. 2008 Apr 1; 31(4): 517–523. doi: 10.1093/sleep/31.4.517 PMCID: PMC2279744 PMID: 18457239
  5. Available from https://www.cdc.gov/index.htm
  6. Joseph A. Hanson; Martin R. Huecker.Sleep Deprivation. Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547676/
  7. Calorie details available from https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/calories-menu
  8. M D Klok , S Jakobsdottir, M L Drent. The role of leptin and ghrelin in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans: a review. 2007 Jan;8(1):21-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2006.00270.x. PMID: 17212793
  9. Miles Berger, John A. Gray, and Bryan L. Roth3. The Expanded Biology of Serotonin. Annu Rev Med. 2009; 60: 355–366. doi: 10.1146/annurev.med.60.042307.110802
  10. Erin C Hanlon , Esra Tasali , Rachel Leproult , et al. Sleep Restriction Enhances the Daily Rhythm of Circulating Levels of Endocannabinoid 2-Arachidonoylglycerol. 2016 Mar 1;39(3):653-64.doi: 10.5665/sleep.5546. PMID: 26612385 PMCID: PMC4763355
  11. Stephanie M. Greer, Andrea N. Goldstein, and Matthew P. Walker. The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nat Commun. 2013; 4: 2259.doi: 10.1038/ncomms3259
  12. Role of cortisol available from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/the-role-of-cortisol-in-the-body.
  13. Guglielmo Beccutia, and Silvana Pannaina. Sleep and obesity. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jul; 14(4): 402–412. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283479109
  14. Joseph A. Hanson; Martin R. Huecker.Sleep Deprivation. Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547676/
  15. Tips for better sleep available from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html
  16. Frances O’Callaghan, Olav Muurlink, and Natasha Reid. Effects of caffeine on sleep quality and daytime functioning. Published online 2018 Dec 7. doi: 10.2147/RMHP.S156404

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