does sleep affect weight loss

Does Sleep Affect Weight Loss?

Does sleep affect weight loss – it absolutely does, and yet sleep is an undervalued commodity in the 21st century Western World.

Personally I make a big effort to get the sleep I need as I can get a bit grumpy without it. But grumpiness to one side – consistent lack of sleep plays havoc with the hormones regulating your weight.

By nature of our physiology we need a certain amount of sleep to have a smoothly running system. When we consistently don’t get enough sleep it messes up a lot of things, but three hormones are of interest if you’re struggling with your weight.



Ghrelin tells your brain when it’s time to eat, it stimulates you’re appetite.

When you’re sleep deprived your body makes more ghrelin. Your appetite increases and you end up eating more than you need.


Leptin tells your brain when you’ve had enough to eat.

The less sleep you have the less leptin circulates in your body. Once again your appetite goes up.


Cortisol is one of the ‘stress hormones’ and it should be low at night.

When you’re not sleeping cortisol is abnormally high at night. The result of this is that you have a tendency to hang on to your fat in an attempt to conserve energy.

Does Sleep Affect Weight Loss?

The occasional poor night’s sleep isn’t going to have much of a bad effect, but if your sleep is poor more often than not then is probably will.

How much does sleep affect loss? It can be a significant amount if you’re a routinely poor sleeper.

Good sleep isn’t just about feeling more awake and ‘with it’. Good sleep is totally under-recognised as a massively important part of a healthy lifestyle, AND weight loss plan.

How many hours per night do you routinely get? Most adults need 7-9 hours.

Whilst it’s important to include a good nutrition plan, some physical activity, and ‘slim mind-set’ changes to your overall weight loss plan – do not overlook the importance of sleep!

Have a great week – with good sleep!

Dr Julie

PS One of the commonest reasons my patients can’t sleep is because can’t switch their mind off. I used to be like that too, but I learned how to switch the madness off, and boy was that worth learning to do!!


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