Why Sleep is Important for Weight Loss (and the Third Reason Will Blow Your Mind)

There are many reasons why sleep is important for weight loss. We have been told that getting enough sleep is good for the body. That’s why, if you are skimping on enough sleep, you may be sabotaging your weight loss goals. 

Losing weight can indeed be a challenge. Diet and exercise habits are the primary focus for most people when they aim to shed a few pounds.  However, recent studies suggest that you should pay more attention to both the quantity and quality of your sleep.

As a business owner or someone who makes critical decisions, your perception of yourself matters. More importantly, quality sleep and exercise have a lot of influence on your brain and your body as a whole.

Do you need to shed some pounds? Or do you want to stay fit and maintain a healthy weight? What you are about to learn about the connection between sleep and weight loss will prompt you to hit the sack early. And the third reason will sell you if the others don’t!

Outline: Relationship Between Sleep and BMI | Reasons Why Sleep is Important for Weight Loss | Actions You Can Take for Healthier Sleep | Final Thoughts | References

The Relationship Between Sleep and Your BMI

According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recommended amount of sleep for adults) is 7 hours. However, a  study in 2018 reports evidence supporting the connection between sleep deprivation and the Body Mass Index (BMI) of adults who sleep less than 7 hours per night.

Statistics show that about 35.2% of adults in the US sleep less than seven hours, and about 40% of individuals say they unknowingly nod off throughout the day at least once each month.

Sleep is important for weight management as it influences our BMI directly and indirectly. Mostly because sleep helps our bodies to regulate the chemicals that support our metabolism. 

The Healthy People 2020 goals include a target for adults and children to get enough sleep. This is because of the public health burden of inadequate sleep health. And better sleep is necessary for the weight loss journey.

Four Reasons Why Sleep is Important for Weight Loss

As humans we need sleep for many reasons. Some of these benefits of sleep may influence our fitness, weight loss, and maintenance journey. Here are three reasons why sleep is so important for weight loss:


1. Quality Sleep Helps To Maintain Body Metabolism

Many metabolic activities occur while you are sleeping. Sleep maintains metabolic homeostasis. It is also linked to many hormonal and metabolic systems in the body. 

These biological processes are not limited to the following:

  • The brain stays active and removes unwanted information
  • Muscles relax
  • Hormones are released
  • Your immune system becomes active and protects your system
  • The stress hormone ‘cortisol’ reduces
  • Your body heals itself, repairs worn-out tissues, and restores energy.

Therefore, inadequate sleep can mess with the balance of your systems and body. Over time, lack of sleep may result in the following:

  • Heart issues
  • Anxiety 
  • Poor concentration
  • Slow movements
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Poor immunity to disease
  • Increase in cortisol levels and inflammation
  • obesity

A study showed that a single night of poor sleep dramatically reduced muscle synthesis by 18% and plasma testosterone by 24%. Cortisol considerably raised by 21% as well. These circumstances may combine to cause muscle deterioration.

2. Sleep Helps To Enhance Physical Activity

Have you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter and feeling wasted the next day? If you have, you may already have an idea of how sleep influence your performance during the day.

Sleep and exercise are closely correlated with one another. Insufficient sleep reduces physical activity, while insufficient exercise may affect sleep. That’s why, sleep deprivation can result in daytime exhaustion, which can lower your motivation to exercise or function properly.

This means that, if you don’t get enough sleep, you become inactive or less active during the day. Therefore, you will burn fewer calories throughout the day than you would if you had quality rest. Thus, lack of sleep may make creating a calorie deficit to lose weight more challenging.

3. Sleep Influences Your Appetite

Yes it’s true. Ever wondered why you ate something you were supposed to cut back from during your fitness journey? 

The truth is, we make poor choices when we don’t sleep well.Lack of sleep makes your brain more susceptible to making poor choices. Here’s how: lack of sleep reduces the activity in the brain’s frontal lobe. Our frontal lobe is responsible for controlling and making decisions. 

While I am tempted tell you that decision making may also affect work, let’s focus on your fitness journey today. The question is how is sleep, decision-making, and weight loss connected? 

When you are stressed or lack proper rest, your brain’s reward regions become active in search of pleasurable experiences.. It affects your ability to control your cravings for comfort food. This means you may find it difficult to say no to that second slice of cake.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that people are more prone to stay up late munching and choosing high-carb foods when they lack sleep. People who lack adequate sleep often select snacks that are twice as fattening as those who sleep at least eight hours.

4. Sleep Helps Your Body To Manage Homones

The quote “There’s a time for everything” also applies to your body. Here’s how:  The brain and other organs contain multiple circadian clocks, which are present throughout the body. They are set off by stimuli like daylight (which makes us feel awake) and darkness (we feel drowsy).

How does this apply to our hormones? Let’s start with two hunger hormones— Ghrelin and leptin. While ghrelin increses your appetite and make you feel hungry, leptin makes you feel filled when eating. 

During sleep, ghrelin relaese is reduced. Hence, you feel less hungry and conserve energy. On the other hand, lack of sleep surpresses leptin and increases ghrelin causing you to be hungrier. You may find yourself night-snacking.

During sleep cortisol release is also reduced. This reduces inflammation and stress on the organs. Also, sleep well alows your cells to stay healthy and take up  glucose. Thus, it prevents insulin resistance.

Our internal body clock, also known as the circadian clock, helps the body manage many other hormones and neurotransmitters in the body and brain. 

PS- These clocks can also be set off by stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, which make us feel awake even if it is nighttime, or by artificially bright light. 

Actions You Can Take for Healthier Sleep

For quality sleep, your body needs all sleep stages. Here are a few tips to help you get better sleep at night:

  1. Exercise daily: According to Harvard Health, regular cardiovascular activity like brisk walking or swimming will help you sleep better and deeper at night and wake up less frequently. You can exercise lightly before bedtime.
  2. Wind down before bed: As a nightly relaxation ritual, try conscious breathing, guided meditation, mild stretching or yoga, or relaxing music.
  3. Create the ideal sleeping environment. For best results, sleep in a calm, dark, and comfortable room with a cool temperature.
  4. Avoid things that keep you awake at night: Limit your use of screens, alcohol, and caffeine before bed.
  5. Avoid taking too many naps: It is best to take a quick snooze before 3 p.m.
  6. Practice healthy eating habits: Avoid consuming large meals two to three hours before bed. However, If you’re hungry 45 minutes before bed, try taking a little healthy snack, maybe a fruit, oats, or nuts.

Final Thoughts

Your sleep quantity may be just as significant to weight loss as your diet and exercise routine. Sadly, a lot of people don’t get enough sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is especially crucial because it aids memory consolidation. 

Better immune system, organ function and alertness are a few perks you can get with quality sleep. Regardless of your reasons. Staying fit and sleeping well has great benefits for you, your employees, and your business.


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  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Sleep Data and Statistics
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Sleep Do I Need?
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy People 2020
  5. Cooper CB, Neufeld EV, Dolezal BA, Martin JL. Sleep deprivation and obesity in adults: a brief narrative review. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2018; 4(1):e000392. Published 2018 Oct 4. https://doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000392
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  7. Lamon S, Morabito A, Arentson-Lantz E, et al. The effect of acute sleep deprivation on skeletal muscle protein synthesis and the hormonal environment. Physiol Rep. 2021;9(1):e14660. doi:10.14814/phy2.14660
  8. Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Kasza K, Schoeller DA, Penev PD. Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009; 89(1): 126-133.
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  10. Roenneberg T,  Merrow M.. The circadian clock and human health. Current Biology. 2016; 26(10):R432-443.
  11. Sleep Foundation: Sleep Statistics. Updated May 13, 2022.

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