Are you struggling to shed those extra pounds despite eating right and exercising regularly? Perhaps it’s time to consider the critical role of sleep in your weight loss journey.
Discover how sleep can help you lose weight by understanding the science behind it, learning the benefits of quality sleep, and implementing tips to optimize your sleep for a healthier lifestyle.
The key takeaways are:
- Sleep plays a critical role in regulating hormones related to appetite, metabolism, and fat storage, thus impacting weight loss.
- Quality sleep offers several benefits for weight loss, including improved appetite control, enhanced workout performance, and optimized fat burning.
- To improve sleep and support weight loss, establish a consistent sleep schedule, create a sleep-friendly environment, develop healthy sleep habits, and incorporate regular exercise and a balanced diet.
- If needed, addressing sleep disorders and seeking professional help can help overcome sleep obstacles hindering weight loss.
- Prioritizing sleep is crucial for effective weight management and overall health.
How Lack Of Sleep Can Cause Weight Gain
Inadequate sleep has, again and again, has been linked to a greater body mass index (BMI) and weight gain (1).
Weight changes have been shown in people who sleep less than seven hours a night. In fact, a review found that short sleep duration increased the chances of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults (2).
One study showed allowing just five hours per night for five nights led to an average weight gain of about 1.8 (.82kg) (4).
Lack of sleep causes weight gain, which contributes to poor sleep. It’s a terrible cycle (5).
Studies have found poor sleep correlates with a higher likelihood of obesity and weight gain in adults and children.
The Science of Sleep and Weight Loss
Sleep regulates hormones directly impacting your appetite, metabolism, and energy expenditure.
When you lack quality sleep, your body produces ghrelin (the hunger hormone), while leptin (the fullness hormone) decreases, leading to overeating and weight gain.
Moreover, poor sleep elevates cortisol levels and impairs insulin sensitivity, increasing fat storage.
Insufficient sleep can lead to insulin resistance in cells, a precursor to type 2 diabetes and weight gain. In a noteworthy study, 11 men experienced a 40% decrease in their ability to lower blood sugar levels after being allowed only four hours of sleep for six consecutive nights (17).
This highlights the importance of quality sleep for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and preventing insulin resistance, which can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes (16, 17).
Additionally, sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a lower resting metabolic rate (RMR), which means you burn fewer calories while at rest.
Ensuring you get enough sleep supports your body’s natural ability to regulate hormones and maintain a healthy metabolism, ultimately promoting weight loss.
The Benefits of Quality Sleep for Weight Loss
Quality sleep provides numerous benefits for weight loss, such as:
Improved appetite control:
Adequate sleep helps reduce cravings for unhealthy foods and enables better portion control, making it easier to stick to a balanced diet.
Also, the hormone cortisol increases when you do not get adequate sleep. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can increase appetite. (1).
Lack of sleep can increase appetite, possibly due to its effect on hormones that signal fullness and hunger.
Some sleep deprivation studies have found that a significant portion of the excess calories consumed is snacks after dinner. (4).
A study of 12 men found that subjects ate an average of 559 more calories when allowed to sleep only four hours compared to when they were allowed eight (14).
Another study on lack of sleep showed that the extra calories are eaten after dinner as snacks (15).
Reduced sleep can increase your calorie intake by increasing portion sizes, late-night snacking and eating time.
Enhanced workout performance:
Sufficient sleep increases energy levels and improves muscle recovery, allowing you to exercise more efficiently and effectively.
Not getting enough sleep can cause two big changes in your body. First, it can make you produce more of a hormone called cortisol (21, 23, 18). Second, it can change how another hormone called testosterone is released (19). When you don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels can go up (23).
Also, when you don’t sleep enough, your body makes less of a hormone called Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) (10). This hormone helps your body grow and stay strong.
A study (22) showed that when people don’t sleep enough and eat fewer calories, they lose about the same weight as those who sleep more.
But they lost less fat (55% less) and more muscle (60% more). Not getting enough sleep can change how your body uses hormones and might weaken your muscles.
So, we think not sleeping enough hurts your muscles and makes it harder for them to recover. This happens because your body breaks down proteins more when you don’t sleep enough, which isn’t good for your muscles.
Sleeping is important because it helps control the hormones affecting your muscles.
Optimized fat burning:
Sleep, particularly deep sleep, is crucial in fat storage and burning. Prioritizing sleep ensures your body has the opportunity to burn fat efficiently.
Research shows that sleep deprivation may lower your resting metabolic rate (RMR) (6). The resting metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns at rest.
Muscle burns more calories than fat at rest, and poor sleep can cause muscle loss, which decreases resting metabolic rates.
One study put ten overweight adults on a moderate-calorie diet for 14 days. Subjects were allowed to sleep either 5.5 or 8.5 hours per night.
Both groups achieved weight loss, but the people who slept for 5.5 hours lost most of their weight from muscle and less from fat (8).
RMR could be lowered by 100 calories per day by a loss of 20 pounds (10-kg) of muscle (9).
Although findings are mixed, poor sleep may lower your resting metabolic rate (RMR). This could be because poor sleep may cause muscle loss.
Tips for Improving Sleep to Boost Weight Loss
To harness the power of sleep for weight loss, consider the following tips:
Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up simultaneously daily helps regulate your body’s internal clock, promoting better sleep quality.
Create a sleep-friendly environment: Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet to encourage a restful night’s sleep. Invest in comfortable bedding and pillows that suit your preferences.
Develop healthy sleep habits: Limit screen time before bed and practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to unwind and prepare for sleep.
Incorporate exercise and a balanced diet: Regular physical activity and a diet rich in sleep-promoting foods can help improve sleep quality and support weight loss goals.
Overcoming Sleep Obstacles to Support Weight Loss
If you’re facing sleep challenges that hinder your weight loss progress, consider the following:
Addressing common sleep disorders: Sleep apnea and insomnia can significantly impact your weight loss journey. Speak with a healthcare professional to explore treatment options.
Seeking professional help: Consult a sleep specialist or consider cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) to improve your sleep habits and achieve a more restorative night’s sleep.
Understanding the connection between sleep and weight loss can unlock the secret to more effective weight management. Prioritize quality sleep to support your body’s natural ability to regulate hormones, maintain a healthy metabolism, and optimize fat burning.
By implementing the tips in this blog, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier, and well-rested version of yourself.
So here you have it. Sleep is an essential factor when it comes to weight loss.
Don’t forget to exercise: exercise and smart eating are the quickest way to reshape your body.
Please feel free to call or email me to get started on your body transformation. That’s what I’m here for!