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Sleep Your Way to Weight Loss

Updated on October 7, 2010

Scientists already know that lack of sleep is connected to accidents, diabetes, depression, hypertension, memory loss and cardiovascular disease. Now, more and more research is being done on the relationship between sleep and body weight. Most men and women need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Chronic sleep debt is defined as sleeping more than four, but less than seven hours a night.

Sleep deprivation causes your nervous system to speed up which increases hormone activity. More cortisol is produced which has been shown to increase food intake and the accumulation of abdominal fat. Restricting sleep is also associated with lower levels of leptin. When leptin levels decrease, the brain tells the body to eat more. Plus, there are two additional hormones that stimulate hunger and prompt the body to eat more when sleep is restricted.

Get enough sleep and your body will naturally regulate your hormones. Simply put, adequate rest means eating less. You'll also be less likely to reach for an energy drink or coffee. If your goal is to lose weight, it is imperative that you get a good night’s rest. Follow these tips to improve sleep.

  • Cut down on caffeine consumption in the late afternoon and evening.
  • Quit smoking or do not use products with nicotine before bed.
  • Keep your bedroom cool during sleeping hours.
  • Drink fewer fluids after dinner to reduce trips to the restroom.
  • Set a regular time to go to bed and a consistent time to wake up.
  • Avoid bringing food to bed.
  • Limit naps to a maximum of 30 minutes. And never nap after 3pm.
  • Avoid intense exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
A great resource for sleep info is the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.  Visit their website at


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    • mixfitness profile image

      mixfitness 7 years ago from Round Hill, VA

      Thanks for your comment, arthursaxon! I ask all my clients how much sleep they're getting each night.

    • arthursaxon profile image

      arthursaxon 7 years ago from Denver, CO

      Good stuff, I've had a few clients with intermittent insomnia, and they had considerable trouble getting results. Sleep is often overlooked in the weight loss equation, but it is absolutely vital!