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How Does Sleep Affect Weight Loss?

Weight loss and body weight management involve several factors, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. Many people don't realize that getting enough sleep every night is a key part of losing weight or just maintaining their current body weight.


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Lack of quality sleep can disrupt your body's hormones that are responsible for appetite control and fat loss, meaning a bad night's sleep could seriously stand in the way of your weight loss goals. Below, learn more about the connection between quality sleep and successful weight management.


Inadequate Sleep Disrupts Hormones Related to Appetite Control

Throughout a weight loss journey, controlling appetite is important for success. To maintain a healthy weight, it's important to eat the appropriate amount of food daily for your unique energy expenditure. Your body's hunger cues are controlled by neurotransmitters known as Leptin and Ghrelin. These hormones connect our brains to our stomachs, helping us to decide if we're hungry.


According to the National Institutes of Health, adults should aim to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep at night for best functioning. Despite this recommendation, most adults do not get this much sleep most nights. The CDC has reported that nearly one in every three adults does not get enough sleep each night.


Low amounts of sleep per night can negatively impact your body's ability to regulate these hunger-signaling hormones, leading to an increased appetite.

In fact, one research study found participants who were low on sleep (four hours) had increased Ghrelin and decreased Leptin when compared to those who got adequate sleep.


Inadequate Sleep Increases Cravings for High-Calorie Foods

Not getting enough sleep at night can also increase your cravings for high-calorie foods, which could put a damper on your weight loss efforts. Consuming too many calories leads to an abundance of energy, which is often stored as fat.


When you don't get restful sleep to energize your body, your body craves energy from high-caloric foods. This may lead to intense cravings when you are sleep deprived, leading to an overconsumption of calories.


Low Energy Levels from Lack of Sleep

Our bodies need adequate sleep to maintain healthy energy levels and functioning metabolisms. When we are low on sleep, we're less likely to exercise throughout the day, which in turn impacts weight loss efforts.

Not only is an exercise routine essential for weight management, but it also affects your quality of sleep. A recent research study suggests that a lack of regular exercise may worsen sleep quality, which creates a secondary problem.


Not sleeping enough can also cause a spike in Cortisol, a hormone directly involved in weight loss. High levels of cortisol may cause your body to hold onto fat, thereby impairing your weight loss efforts.


Adequate Sleep Promotes Better Food Choices

Successful weight loss and weight management are dependent on making smart food choices. Getting enough high-quality sleep each night can help you to make better dietary choices. When you're well-rested, you're more likely to stay on track with a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet.


On the other hand, if you're low on sleep, your decision-making skills may be impaired. You may feel unmotivated or too tired to cook whole foods and resort to junk food that is easily accessible.


Sleep Deprivation Can Hinder Weight Loss Progress

Sleep deprivation may also impair your body's ability to produce a hormone known as insulin. Insulin, produced in the pancreas, plays a critical role in converting food into usable energy. In a study conducted at the University of Chicago, researchers found that participants who were low on sleep were significantly less insulin-sensitive than those who had slept enough.


Improving Your Sleep Quality

Too little sleep can negatively impact your weight, leading to disrupted hormones, an increased appetite, and poorer food choices.

To help improve your sleep quality, consider implementing these tips and tricks for a better night's sleep, which can, in turn, help you maintain a healthy body weight:

  • Stick to a regular sleep and wake schedule.

  • Remove electronics and blue light from your bedroom.

  • Add black-out curtains or blinds to darken your room.

  • Try aromatherapy such as lavender to support healthy sleep.

  • Avoid eating or snacking too close to bedtime.

  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake close to bedtime.


Prioritizing High-Quality Sleep to Support a Healthy Weight


Sleep is an essential component for many of our most important bodily functions, including weight management and hormone regulation. By understanding the strong connection between quality sleep and successful weight management, you can pay closer attention to your sleep hygiene habits.

Want to learn more tips to help you improve your sleep habits and develop a healthy sleep schedule? Prioritizing high-quality sleep can help you become an overall happier, healthier version of yourself. Check out these eight tips for getting sleep and learn more sleep tips on the ActiveFit+ blog.

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