For many people, losing weight is a challenge, and try as they might with good food and regulate exercise, they may find that their extra pounds aren’t shifting.
The secret to healthy weight loss could be right under your nose, though, with many studies confirming what we never suspected: that getting enough sleep at night can actually help you to lose weight.
You’ve probably noticed that when you’re tired you reach for the unhealthy snacks to keep you awake or avoid a gym session because you don’t have the energy, but there’s a lot more to this correlation between sleep and weight.
The key to many of us achieving a healthy weight for ourselves lies with our nightly shuteye, so figuring out this magic formula is imperative.
So, do you lose weight while you sleep?
As we sleep, our bodies continue working, and while they do these everyday activities like circulating blood, breathing, and keeping our organs running, they’re burning calories. Therefore, it’s easy to lose weight while you sleep while doing nothing at all, but the number of calories you burn depends on your metabolism and other lifestyle factors.
If you’ve been looking for the missing puzzle piece in your weight loss journey or want to learn more about why a good night’s sleep is so important, this is the article for you.
We’ll look into how the body burns calories while we sleep, some crucial studies that have been done on the link between sleep and weight, and how you can implement changes in your life that’ll improve your rest and help you shift those extra pounds.
- 1 The Connection Between Weight Loss and Sleep
- 2 How Many Calories Do You Burn While Sleeping?
- 3 What Happens When We Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
- 4 The Right Amount of Sleep for Healthy Weight Loss
- 5 The Benefits of Sleep That Can Affect Your Weight
- 6 Tips for Connecting Sleep With Weight Loss
- 7 Related Questions
The Connection Between Weight Loss and Sleep
To get an idea of just how impactful sleep is on weight loss, you only have to look at the scientific studies.
There has been loads of research done over the years on how the amount of sleep we get each night directly impacts our ability to lose or gain weight.
These are some of the more interesting finds that prove why sleep is so important if you’re trying to reach a healthy weight.
- One study found that children and adults who slept for shorter periods were more likely to experience obesity. From the study, 89% of children and 55% of adults analyzed reported obesity that was linked to short sleep cycles and a predeterminer of obesity in the future.
- A 2013 study took a group of 16 adults and allowed them to have just five hours of sleep for five nights. After the trial period, the participants gained an average of 1.8lbs in this short period, which shows the tremendous potential for serious weight gain over longer periods.
- A study from 2006 focused on a sample group of 60,000 nurses who were of an average healthy weight and their sleep patterns over 16 years. It was discovered that nurses who slept fewer than five hours a night were 15% more likely to be overweight by the end of the study, compared to the nurses who had their recommended seven hours or more each night.
How Many Calories Do You Burn While Sleeping?
The key to simple weight loss in creating a deficit with calories, so you need to be eating fewer calories than those burned during your everyday activities.
The number of calories that someone burns depends entirely on them, and although things like weight are important, it can also be impacted by gender, hormones, and other lifestyle factors.
Our metabolism is responsible for weight loss and determines how many calories we burn each day.
This process is how our body converts the food we eat into energy which is used for bodily functions, exercise, and daily activities.
Our basal metabolic rate (BMR) is how many calories we burn each day even while doing nothing, which includes our all-important nightly sleep.
Even as we sleep, we lose a specific number of calories each night, thanks to our metabolism.
According to Healthline, someone who weighs 125 pounds will burn around 38 calories an hour, so if you’re getting the recommended seven hours of sleep each night it’s 266 calories.
A person weighing Although it might not sound like a lot, consider that you’re doing nothing at all to burn these off and you’ll see why it’s so important.
What Happens When We Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
We know that getting enough sleep each night can help give our weight loss a boost, but what happens on those nights when we’re not able to hit the recommended hours?
Although having an off night now and then won’t take any serious toll on your health or the number on the scale, repeatedly poor sleep can lead to a range of consequences.
We want unhealthy foods
Waking up tired means you’re more likely to reach for a large latte and a bacon sandwich rather than water and a fruit salad.
Studies have shown that people who haven’t slept enough will reach for foods with increased levels of fat, sugar, and carbohydrates, so you’ll be bound to make unhealthy choices.
Our appetite is increased
When we’re sleep-deprived, two important hunger hormones start to act up, making it hard to resist eating all day long.
Ghrelin is released in the stomach and is at its highest when we’re hungry, and leptin suppresses hunger and is released from fat cells.
Both hormones are impacted when we’re sleep-deprived and lead us to eat a lot more than usual.
We eat more calories
The mere fact that we’re awake for longer means there’s more time for eating, which means we can fit more calories into the day.
A regular sleep schedule of at least seven to nine hours a night means there’s just enough time to eat a healthy number of calories from foods that are good for us.
Our willpower is lacking
Studies have proven that when we don’t get enough sleep, it’s harder for us to make healthy choices.
This means we don’t think about the negative effects of eating donuts or skipping our daily walk because it’s too hard for our brains to resist these bad choices.
We’re too tired to exercise
The last thing you want to do when you wake up from a poor night’s sleep is to work out.
When you don’t get enough sleep there’s less chance that you’ll want to exercise in the morning and this tiredness will carry throughout the day so you won’t want to do it later either.
The Right Amount of Sleep for Healthy Weight Loss
The easiest thing we can do to lose weight is to get our sleep schedule on track, but how do we know the magic number for how many hours of sleep we need each night?
Everyone is different with how much sleep they require, but as a general rule, we should be aiming for between seven to nine hours every evening.
According to the Sleep Foundation, each age group requires their own recommended hours of sleep each night.
Keep these figures in mind if you’re trying to come up with a healthy sleep schedule for yourself and your family:
- Babies – 12 – 15 hours
- Children: 9 – 11 hours
- Teenagers: 8-10 hours
- Adults: 7 – 9 hours
- Older adults 65+: 7-8 hours
The Benefits of Sleep That Can Affect Your Weight
Making sure you get the recommended number of sleep hours each night might not be easy for everyone, but once you make it part of your routine, you’ll start to see the benefits.
These are just some ways that a good night’s sleep can help you lose weight or maintain it at a healthy level.
The most obvious benefit to sleep is having energy and with a full night’s rest, we’ll be full of it.
This means more energy to prepare healthy foods, cook for ourselves at home and avoid takeout, and get in our daily workout.
Nothing beats the feeling of waking up refreshed and full of energy.
When we enter into our day with a clear head, we’re more likely to make smart decisions, stick to our plans, and treat our bodies with respect.
Our minds are stronger when we’re well-rested and it’ll be easier to convince yourself to make healthy choices.
This means you won’t have to talk yourself into sticking to a diet or working out a gym because it’ll be a no-brainer.
Being in a happier mood overall will make it easier to stick with healthy habits, and this can be achieved with a good night’s sleep.
When you’re feeling better mentally that will translate to your physical abilities, so it’s hugely beneficial.
Tips for Connecting Sleep With Weight Loss
If you’ve been struggling to get enough sleep at night or simply haven’t made it a priority, you can start today.
This is the missing link for many people when it comes to losing weight and the sooner you can start getting your seven hours each night, the faster you’ll notice the extra pounds falling off.
Make sleep a priority
Sleep should be a must-have on your daily list and not something you “try” to achieve. Make it an essential part of your routine and stick to it.
Have a sleep schedule
Choose a time that works for you to fall asleep each night and wake up the following morning.
Stick to this schedule, even on the weekends, and soon enough your body will form it as a habit.
Learn healthy sleeping habits
Look at things you might be doing that impact your quality of sleep and make adjustments as needed.
Healthy sleep habits include avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, sleeping in a dark, cool room, avoiding screen time, and using a white noise machine to drown out distractions.
Track your sleep
There are lots of helpful sleep apps out there that can track your sleep or lack thereof.
Utilize a sleep app to see how much deep sleep you’re getting, whether snoring or sleep apnea is a problem, and what the best times for your awake and rest periods are.
You can get a whole lot done while you’re sleeping, even if you’re not doing anything, and weight loss is one of the most beneficial.
Simply making sure you get enough rest at night could be your ticket to losing those last few pounds, so check out our answers to some FAQs about the connection between weight and sleep.
What is the Best Sleep Position to Lose Belly Fat?
Experts recommend that laying on your back with a supportive pillow is the healthiest sleeping position, but not necessarily one that will aid weight loss in that area.
No specific sleeping position is better than others for losing weight around the stomach, but choosing a balanced diet and sticking to a regular exercise routine will be adequate if these are your health goals.
What is the Best Temperature to Sleep in For Weight Loss?
To ensure you’re losing the most weight as you sleep, experts state that sleeping in colder temperatures will help speed up your body’s metabolism, as it’s trying to keep you warm.
By doing so, you’re burning the body fat faster which then burns calories, so it can speed up the process of weight loss.
What Time is Best to Sleep to Lose Weight?
To lose a healthy amount of weight, you should be focused on reaching the recommended hours of sleep each night, and not so much a specific time.
Provided you are getting between seven and nine hours of sleep, it doesn’t matter what time you go to sleep and wake up if weight loss is your goal.