Sleep for Weight Loss

Why Sleep Is Important For Weight Loss

Sleep & Weight LossGetting plenty of sleep is important for our health and well being yet so few of us make it a priority. This means that many of us are unaware of what being truly rested feels like.

Our sleep is also impacted by certain stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks. Alarm clocks, external lights especially those coming from electronic devices interfere with our circadian rhythm (natural sleep/wake cycle).

Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. It is important to assess not only where you fall on the ‘sleep needs spectrum’ but also to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedule and stress.

For many, sleep plays an important factor to those of us trying to lose weight and here are some reasons why?

Stops Late Night Snacking

The longer you are awake the more likely you are to consume more calories you do not need which can cause you to gain up to 2 pounds per week.

If you do not go to sleep when you feel tired, then your natural bodies response is to crave sugary foods to give you that boost. Unfortunately, our brain does not know how to acknowledge when we have had enough sugar and more so when we are tired. Therefore, in general it is easy for 1 sugary late-night snack to turn to 2 or 3 in a short period of time.

Helps Burn More Calories

In a study those people getting plenty of sleep generally burn more calories whilst resting than those who suffer with sleep by an average of 5%. They also burned 20% more calories after a meal versus sleep deprived people.

The study which looked at people on a weight loss program found that people sleeping between 6 to 8 hours were more likely to be successful in losing weight. The loss of weight was also associated with lower stress levels. It has been found that chronic stress levels can trigger hormonal reactions that result in an increase in energy dense foods so that eating becomes a coping mechanism and palatable food becomes addictive.

Such foods include


Soda/Carbonated drinks

Cakes & Biscuits

Ice Cream

Fast Foods

Substituting these foods for those that are called high energy would make a big difference.

Nuts & Seeds


Organic Peanut Butter

Leafy Greens


Lack Of Sleep Linked To Obesity

Professor Cappuccio of Warwick University UK has been investigation sleep patterns with interesting results. His early results have shown that sleep deprivation can almost double your risk of obesity for both children and adults. The research reviewed current evidence in over 28,000 children and 15,000 adults.

The research suggested that over time the lack of sleep resulted in an increase of body mass index and waist circumference leading to obesity.

There was a direct correlation with a lack of sleep to an increased appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone commonly know as a ‘hunger hormone’ and was shown to increase with a lack of sleep. Ghrelin creates less leptin which helps to suppress our appetite.Ghrelin & leptin






Link to view press release

Sleep Lowers Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Type 2 Diabetes is a serious condition where the insulin your pancreas makes does not work properly or does not work enough.

Insulin is important to our body as it allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our body. When you have Type 2 Diabetes your body still produces glucose from breaking down carbohydrates in food and drink. However, the pancreas keeps producing insulin but because this cannot be used properly blood glucose levels keep rising.

Over a long period of time, these raised increases of high sugar levels, can result in complications with heart, eyes, feet and kidneys.

Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed and certainly managed. Some people can do this through healthy eating, weight loss and exercise and others through medication.

Poor sleeping habits have been found to increase the risk of Type II Diabetes in just 6 days, according to studies carried out on healthy young men restricted to just 4 hours sleep.

The reduction of insulin sensitivity was reversed after just 1-week increased duration of sleep.

Boosts Fat Loss

In a recent study from the University of Chicago compared the weight loss results from a group who got 8.5 hours sleep versus a group sleeping 5.5 hours. Both groups ate 1450 calories per day and lost 6.5 lbs on average.

However, the interesting fact was the weight loss of those who slept longer burned 3.25 lbs of body fat as opposed to 1.62 lbs in the sleep deprived group.

Likely To Shop Healthier

Another study in the journal ‘Obesity’ saw sleep deprived men buy 1300 calories more than well rested men after both groups ate a good breakfast.

The problem with a lack of sleep means that we have difficulty making the right choices as our brains become foggy and we feel tired and fatigued. People therefore are more prone to buying processed and ready-made meals as they do not have the time to eat healthier. This unhealthy eating habit leads to an increase in the wrong calories and this is where the weight gain starts.

Portion Control

Greater Portion Size Control

In a Swedish study well rested and sleep deprived participants were asked to complete a computerised ‘ideal portion size’ task where they could manipulate their portion serving on the screen. Their findings showed that the sleep deprived group added an average of 35 calories in snacks to their plates

Brain Function

We have all experienced differences with concentration levels when our brains are tired. Researchers carried out brain scans on people who reported daytime sleepiness and measured brain activity in response to high calorie food. Basically, it was found that there were lowered inhibitions which led to a tendency to overeat when tired. This was due to the lack of activation in the part of the brain involved with inhibition and behavior control in our prefrontal cortex.

Good Sleep Practices

Stick to a sleep schedule even on weekends. Our body enjoys routine and this is no different with our sleeping pattern. The most important part of the schedule is the waking up, as your body will prepare itself for the daily activities ahead.

Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual such as having a bath. Not only does a bath have a calming effect on us but it is also known to reduce our body temperature which allows us to sleep more readily.

Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound, and light. A dark room is good for sleeping however waking up to natural light is equally as important. Allowing your body to wake up naturally is more conducive to a good waking practice.

Ideal bedroom temperature is conducive for a good night’s sleep. Having a cooler room is likened to your core body temperature drop into the evening. A hotter room will usually mean that you are likely to woken up during your sleep due to overheating.

A quiet room can be good for some to relax but others might prefer natural sounds depending on what you are used too.

Sleeping on a comfortable mattress and pillow is important to ensure that you are getting a good night’s sleep. Not only should you be cleaning your bed linen regularly but also keeping your mattress and pillows clean.

Some statistics for you:

Breathing & Perspiration – Half a litre of water lost at night per adult.

Dead skin – Loss of approximately half a kilo per year per adult.

It is therefore important to ensure that you change your mattress every ten years hence keeping your environment clean and tidy and you healthier.

A clutter free bedroom where you have no electronics makes you feel that your bedroom is purely the place you go to relax. If your room is tidy, then your mind is likely to be clutter free and more relaxed for sleep.

Exercise daily as this helps us with a better sleeping routine. Those people who exercise regularly generally sleep deeper.

Beware of hidden sleep stealers such as caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol. These are known as stimulants for a reason and your body will feel less likely to relax as it was to stay awake and alert.Sleep Environment


Sleep is so important in our lives for our health and well being. Allow yourself the time to look after “you” the best way that you can, and sleep is the easy part of that.

Sleep affects us mentally as well as physically and sometimes we do not realise. Being tired is a bi product of both.

I know for certain that when I sleep well my day is so much better and I perform my daily activities with so much more energy.

Why sleep is important for weight loss, has now had so much research mainly due to the chronic disease this associates with especially diabetes and heart disease. The association that our brain has with a lack of sleep plays an important part in how we function daily.

Just imagine how you felt when you had been on a long journey where you have covered different time zones. How did you feel? Did you lose appetite? Did you become restless? Had feelings of cold and anxiousness? Lack of focus and energy? This is why our body needs good quality sleep.

I hope that you have learnt the importance of sleep for our general health and especially for those of you who are wanting to lose weight.


  1. Aly

    Most of us recognize that sleep has a huge role in a person’s overall health and mental state, but I’d guess that hearing that sleep is also important for weight loss would surprise a lot of people. In this modern world (even under self-quarantine), it would still be nice to have more hours in the day — there’s always so much to experience that it can be hard to stop for much needed rest and sleep. Thank you for all these reasons and reminders of why it is critical for us all to get enough sleep — and especially so for those who are on a weight loss program.

    1. Imelda Easthorpe

      Thank you Aly,

      Yes, so many of us underestimate the importance of sleep especially in the world of stress and anxiety we live in. I wanted to also show another side that the western world is concerned about. Hopefully if I can show people this then sleep will be come habit form and the pure health benefits will be achieved by so many more people.

  2. Enrique

    I can totally relate! I must confess I don’t sleep regularly as much as I should. Due to work, family, and a lack of discipline, as much as I’ve tried to go to bed early and sleep 8 hours, I just can’t!

    Sometimes I feel irritable and have a hard time concentrating. I know this is mostly due to the lack of sleep. When I sleep well, I feel better.

    As if losing weight alone wasn’t hard, we also have to focus on our sleep. If we want to lose weight, we have to eat properly, work out regularly, sleep well, avoid stress, among other things, while to gain weight you don’t have to do anything! Lol sorry for the rant.

    My sleep patterns have been worse these days. It seems many of us are stressed due to the pandemic and its effects and are having trouble sleeping.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Imelda Easthorpe

      Thank you Enrique,

      You have summed it up so nicely and I really hope that people can pick this up. You are so right that at this time sleep is more valuable than anything else and if I can help people achieve that better then I am pleased.

  3. Brian

    A very interesting post thank you – I always thought I felt more hungry after a late night , I now know why . Could you explain further regarding the ‘sleep needs spectrum’ ? . The links made between not eating , drinking coffee in the evening are similar to my parents told me but just thought they wanted me out of the fridge . 

    1. Imelda Easthorpe

      Thank you Brian,

      It is strange isn’t it the way we looked at things when we were younger to how we live today. I know I rebelled a little from my parents when I got my own place at the age of 18. Now as I took my journey it health and well being I like you start to think “oh my parents were right”. When you lack sleep you lose judgement due to how the brain performs. Interestingly we often confuse sugar with hunger, or thirst with hunger which is what happens to the brain with lack of sleep. Once your brain feels it wants sugar late night snacking, caffeine or alcohol become a need of thought instead of sleep. Hope that helps?

  4. Jimmy

    Hello Imelda,

    I agree sleep Is important for weight loss and is also a big factor in a healthy lifestyle. I am a type 2 diabetic and before I became diabetic, used to eat a late night snack which would consist of a 12 ounce soda and a bag of chips every night before I went to bed. Of course, I was slowly raising my blood sugar and my insulin resistance. Additionally, I became obese, had a fatty liver and then developed type 2 diabetes, no surprise. 

    I made a change in my circadian rhythm and lifestyle by: changing my diet, getting 8 hours of sleep everyday, intermittent fasting, and reducing stress. Also, I lost 45 lbs – 20.4  kg. I think the key for a type 2 diabetic is to cut out man made sugar of any kind and eat whole natural unprocessed foods.

    Lastly, get your sleep as you suggest.

    1. Imelda Easthorpe

      Hello Jimmy,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with developing Type 2 Diabetes and how you helped improve your lifestyle which I know so many people will be faced with. All of us should definitely be living exactly as you so thank you.

      Yes SLEEP, so important for our health.

  5. edahnewton1

    Hey nice article you have there. Your thoughts are indeed invaluable. So much interesting facts you have about sleep. I have learnt a who lot from this article. Nevertheless, I would love to recommend this article to a neighbor who has been  suffering from diabetes type 2. So therefore, I would love to know the minimum hours she will sleep each days, in other for it to be effective

    1. Imelda Easthorpe

      Hello and thank you,

      I am so pleased that I can help your neighbour suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. The best thing to do is to ensure they are having 6 – 8 hours sleep regularly at night. Get a good sleep pattern in place in terms of time going to bed and more importantly time waking up. Make sure the bedroom environment is conducive to a good nights sleep. Fingers crossed this will be a powerful medicine for them.

      Thank you so much

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