Can You Lose Weight By Sleeping?By Elisa - Jenny Craig Reviewed by Monica Ropar, Nutritionist Science-Backed
When it comes to weight loss, you may think you're doing everything right. But despite your best attempts, nothing seems to be changing, and reaching your goal is starting to feel like an elusive dream. You are not alone.
In our sleep-deprived society, weight gain appears to be more the norm rather than the exception, as more than two out of three Americans are considered overweight or obese.1 This is because sleep and weight loss are intricately tied to many different hormonal and metabolic processes. The amount of sleep you get impacts those processes and how your metabolism functions.
Individuals who are sleep deprived, or who suffer from sleep disorders, can experience a misalignment in their circadian rhythm.2 Your circadian rhythm is your 24-hour internal clock that controls your cycle of sleep and wakefulness.
When your circadian rhythm is out of whack, and you are low on sleep, metabolic processes inside your body can be disrupted. This is because during sleep, all your cells undergo a critical process of regeneration, and your hormonal systems take that time to regroup.3 If you skimp on rest, your cells don’t have the time they need to recover and your hormones can go askew.
Hormones are important when it comes to regulating your appetite and hunger cues, and they are a vital component in helping you stay on track during your weight loss efforts. Furthermore, sleep provides an essential period for your mind and body to recover from busy days and the challenges that come with them. Disrupted metabolic processes can lead to weight gain4 instead of weight loss, despite eating healthy and exercising.
But how does sleep affect weight loss? There are a multitude of different studies which have shown that a good night’s sleep may help you:
Burn more calories through the day
Making sure you get your beauty sleep can serve a much higher purpose than erasing those bags under your eyes. When you’re well-rested, you burn more calories when you're not moving than someone who is sleep deprived.5 Not only can you burn more calories when you’re sedentary, but you may also burn more calories than your exhausted friends after eating a meal. Making sure to get enough sleep can ramp up your energy and calorie burning abilities.
Lose more stored fat
Some studies have shown that people may have different weight loss results, even when they are consuming the same number of calories, depending on their amount of sleep. Those who get 8.5 hours of sleep per night appear to drop more fat than their tired and sleepy counterparts.6
Eat less food overall
The more time you spend sleeping, the less time you'll spend doing other things, like eating. One study showed that men who slept 4 hours compared to men who slept 8 hours consumed 500 more calories each day.7
When you don’t hit the hay for long enough, your body can't adequately control the production of leptin and ghrelin in your body, which are two hormones that help you manage hunger.
When you're suffering from a lack of sleep, the levels of cortisol in your body rise due to stress associated with being tired, which can lead to weight gain.8 If there are high levels of ghrelin and cortisol running through your body, it can shut down the satiation centers of your brain, leaving you feeling ravenous and prompting you to crave foods you shouldn't eat.
Additionally, your complex decision-making center of the brain may be impaired, so that all those cravings you're feeling in the moment, suddenly seem like a great decision. You may be tempted to chow down on unhealthy foods in larger quantities, at times you usually wouldn’t eat, and end up regretting it later.
Does lacing up your tennis shoes sound like a good idea when you can barely keep your eyes open? Your workout routine may slide to the wayside when you’re tired. Sleep is also critical in helping your muscles repair themselves after a tough workout. (This is why athletes stress the importance of a good night's sleep). If you want to improve your athletic and fitness performance, be sure to get plenty of zzz’s.
When it comes to sleep and weight loss, take your rest seriously. Those eight to 10 hours a night make a world of difference when it comes to your health, fitness, clarity, and mood. However, getting more sleep is often easier said than done. Use these sleep tips to help you unplug and catch more zzz’s.
Are you ready to start losing weight and sleeping better? Contact us for your free appointment today and see how Jenny Craig can work for you.
Elisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. A San Diego native and an endurance sports enthusiast, you can usually find her swimming, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Chico.
Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple.
Reviewed by: Monica Ropar, Nutritionist
Monica has over 15 years of experience with Jenny Craig, as an expert nutrition and program resource. She develops content, training, tools and strategies for the program to support clients throughout their weight loss journey, and offers inspiration, weight loss tips, lifestyle strategies and motivation. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Dietetics and Exercise, Fitness & Health from Purdue University and continues to stay current on weight management research, consumer trends and healthcare developments.
Favorite healthy snack: raw veggie sticks with homemade hummus.
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This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and fact-checked by Monica Ropar, Nutritionist at Jenny Craig.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.