The link between sleep and weight management

A recent study found that adults need at least seven hours of sleep at night, and getting less than this can increase the risk of heart disease, dementia, and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Additionally, research has shown that the quantity and quality of sleep can affect our body weight and metabolism. 

Here’s a closer look at the connection between sleep and weight management:

Hormonal regulation

Sleep influences the production and regulation of key hormones that control appetite and metabolism. Lack of sleep can disrupt the balance of hormones such as leptin and ghrelin, which are responsible for signaling feelings of fullness and hunger, respectively. This imbalance can lead to increased appetite, cravings for high-calorie foods, and ultimately, weight gain.

Lack of sleep can also elevate stress levels and increase the production of cortisol, a hormone associated with fat storage, particularly in the abdominal area. Elevated cortisol levels can promote weight gain and make it harder to lose weight, especially around the midsection.

Metabolic balance 

Adequate sleep also helps you maintain a healthy metabolic rate—the rate at which your body burns calories. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a decrease in metabolic rate, making it more challenging to burn calories efficiently. Over time, this can contribute to weight gain. 

Energy levels 

Sleep can regulate your energy, which is the relationship between the calories consumed through food and beverages and the calories expended through physical activity and metabolic processes. Disrupted sleep patterns can disrupt this balance, leading to an excess of calories stored as fat and weight gain.

Not getting enough sleep can affect decision-making and impulse control, leading to poor dietary choices and overeating. Someone who is sleep-deprived may be more likely to reach for sugary or high-calorie foods as a quick energy boost, further contributing to weight gain.

Promoting a healthy sleep pattern

You can make sure you get enough sleep by promoting a healthy sleep pattern. Some of the ways you can do this include: 

  • Avoiding exposure to bright lights and screens before bedtime can help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
  • Steer clear of stimulating activities, such as vigorous exercise, intense work tasks, or lively social interactions, particularly in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  • Refrain from consuming caffeinated beverages later in the day, as caffeine can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
  • Eating healthily and staying physically active can positively impact your sleep quality.
  • Establish a consistent evening routine to help signal to your body that it’s time to relax and prepare for sleep. Stick to your routine diligently to reinforce healthy sleep habits.
  • Engage in calming activities before bedtime, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or reading, to help quiet your mind and promote relaxation.
  • Ensure that your bedroom is conducive to sleep by minimizing noise and light, investing in comfortable bedding, and using blackout curtains to block out external light sources.
  • Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, to establish a consistent sleep-wake cycle. Gradually adjust your sleep schedule earlier if needed by shifting bedtime gradually over several days.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.