How Sleep Affects Your Weight

Featured Article, News and Advice, Weight Loss
on November 1, 2012
How sleep affects weight.

About how many hours of sleep do you get each night?  While most everyone knows we need the recommended 7-8 hours (and sometimes more) of sleep each night, most people get far less than that.  We also know that the amount of sleep we get affects energy levels, moods, and productivity—we can feel these effects. But did you know the amount of sleep you get—or don’t get—could actually affect your weight, too?

More and more studies are showing a significant correlation between a person’s weight and the amount of sleep he or she gets each night.  Studies show that those who do not get an adequate amount of sleep are 50 percent more likely to be obese (for children it’s a staggering 90 percent).  They also show that people who get more than 7 hours of sleep per night are more likely to succeed in losing weight.  Here’s why.

A lack of sleep causes your body to hold on to fat tissue for energy, thus causing you to lose calorie-burning muscle tissue instead. An inadequate amount of sleep also alters your hormone levels, which have an effect on your appetite.  It decreases amounts of Leptin, a hormone that signals to your brain that you are full while increasing levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates your appetite. Because of this, you have the urge to eat more and feel less satisfied when you do.

So, was that enough to convince you to get to bed a little earlier?  We’re all busy, and time seems to get away from us sometimes, but getting more sleep really is just a matter of creating better habits. Here are some ways to implement better sleep habits.

  • Set a bedtime that allows for your 8 hours and stick to it.
  • Turn off the TV, computer, and your smart phone an hour before your bedtime.
  • Do something soothing, like reading to help you fall asleep easier.
  • Try gradually moving your bedtime up 15 minutes earlier each night to ease into it.

While a lack of sleep has a negative effect on your weight, the good news is an inadequate amount sleep—and many of its side effects—can easily be eliminated by forming better habits. So, get to bed!