Why Getting A Good Night’s Rest Can Help You Lose Weight

If you’re trying to slim down or maintain your weight, the problem may not be your calorie counting or your workouts. It could be your sleep. Studies show that there are many links between snoozing poorly over a significant period of time and the ability to lose weight. Here’s why:

How Sleep Can Impact Your Weight Loss Goal

“Over time, lack of sleep can change how your body processes blood sugar and regulates the hormones that control hunger and appetite,” says Fitbit sleep advisor Michael Grandner, PhD, MTR, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

Some research reveals that making a habit of sleeping for an average of six hours or less increases your risk of weight gain and, if this sleep deprivation is chronic, can be one of the reasons you become obese, says Grandner. And another study shows losing just a couple of hours of sleep a few nights in a row can lead to almost immediate weight gain.

During the night, you get a natural increase in the hormone leptin, which keeps you from getting hungry. Staying up keeps this leptin level from rising, says Grandner, which leads to late night cravings.

Sleep deprivation can keep your brain from making good decisions, especially late at night. “This can lead to unhealthy food or exercise choices that you wouldn’t make if you were well rested,” says Grander.

The genes that regulate all of your body’s rhythms also play an important role in metabolism and energy storage. Because lack of sleep can disrupt these rhythms, the result can be an increase in storing energy as fat and not using it.

On the other hand, “sleeping well can help your body regulate metabolism, regulate food cravings, and make better decisions about what and when to eat,” says Grandner.

Bottomline: If you’ve set a goal to lose weight, it’s probably a good idea to set a goal to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, too.

41 Comments   Join the Conversation

41 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Totally agree! I did noticed that working in nights shifts! Starting a normal job and sleeping at night brought an important change in my look and feel. Getting enough sleep make me less hungry.

  • Totally agree with this article. You need a healthy body and to do that you need healthy sleep. We should all sleep for a good 8 hours and no less. your body needs it and it helps you recharge properly for the day ahead. Eat and sleep properly = 🙂

  • I Will wake up every two or three hours. I take valerian root to try and fall back to sleep.I would love to sleep uninterrupted.

  • I would like to see information on the recommended percent of time in each stage of sleep. I love that Fitbit has added that info to the app, but I can’t find a resource to help me understand it. Please help!

    • I agree with Molly. It would nice to find out what is the average or ultimate % of time in each phase. What % of time should be spent in deep sleep vs. light sleep and REM.

      • That information is on your sleep review page. Just slide the slider-thingie to “benchmark” and you’ll see the average range for your age/gender. Hope this helps! God Bless!

      • Hi Ed, you can find the benchmark for people in your own age group if you click on today’s sleep line, then click on benchmark.

      • I, too, love the sleep stages and all of the information you can get. The “Benchmark” tab shows where you fall on average and can help you figure out what your “norm” is with others. For instance, I spend a higher than the benchmark time in REM, which coincides with what I was told in a sleep study I took years ago. I was told I dream a lot!☺

  • This article is right on time!!! Since getting my new puppy in January, I’ve been working on 4 -5 hours sleep and have noticed the weight gain, despite the healthy food choices I’ve made. Just recently started wearing my Fitbit to bed and was amazed at the lack of sleep of I’m getting. Will definitiely change my sleep schedule as a result.

  • I have never been a good sleeper. My average is between 3-5 hours per night. I take sleeping pills, still not very much help. My parents have poor sleep habits as well. I think this is a big portion of my weight issues. I eat pretty good, get a lot of exercise, but can’t seem to lose any weight. My thyroid is a bit sluggish, but I’m on meds for this. I always feel tired.

  • I had the same question. The recommended numbers I found in some online articles was 25% REM and 20% deep sleep.

  • Hello,
    I’m a senior and trying desperately to stay alive and well. Sleep is a problem, and I don’t know how to read my Fitbit sleep results. I wake up feeling OK but then at 2PM I feel like I’m ready to collapse. I have a good diet, so I doubt that’s the problem. I’m I normal and how do I read my Fitbit results or compare my Fitbit results with others my age?

  • I would also love to sleep more, but have been having serious trouble falling and staying asleep for many weeks now. Spoke with my doctor who did not have much more to offer than an ambien prescription, which actually doesn’t help all that much.

  • Ok. My Fitbit ap seems to be making things worse when it comes to restful sleep. Even tho I know I’ve been restless, seeing that I do not get a good nights rest does not help me. I plan for plenty of rest, but my hormones have their own ideas. How about you?

  • I wake up every 2 hrs. at night due to hot flashes. I take ambien, have tried all the herbals, nothing seems to work.

  • I am curious about this study as it relates to people as they get older. Our sleep patterns often change. I am in my sixty’s and find it hard to sleep more than 6 hours at a time.

  • You can check that (average for women our age) by clicking the benchmark button within a sleep record 😉

  • I set a goal to get more sleep but no matter what time I go to bed I have sleepless nights and wake up in the We hours of the morning
    Setting a goal for at leas6 hours doesn’t work for me.

  • This is a head start for me… reading this article has helped me to understand how unhealthy it is on staying up late and watching T.V. also I can share this article with family members.

  • If I have slept for a total of 8 hrs but according to Fitbit, it’s only 5hrs – would it mean that my real amount of sleep was only 5 hrs? When a website says to have 8 hrs of sleep a day, do they mean total time asleep or actual Fitbit time I am asleep? Thanks

  • How can I improve my sleep habit? I have been under stress for awhile and just want to go back to my happy myself.

    • I also cannot stay asleep, and when I wake up I don’t sleep for the rest of the night, But what I used to help was a sound machine. It played soothing sounds to calm stress.

  • Hi, I agree with Anonymous,, I have problems staying asleep also. I toss and turn all night long, Would Love some Suggestions..

  • My Fitbit shows a lot of restless and awake periods. I use the reminder and go to bed early but never get more than 5-6 hours. Anything I can take to make me stay asleep?

  • All well and good. However, try as I do, I cannot sleep for more than 4 hours. Don’t want to take drugs to help sleep because I’ve tried and didn’t work left me

  • Yes.is one of the requirements of healthy lifestyle.One said ,”Early to bed & early to rise” can get health, wisdom & wealth in life.going early bed was ancient practice when people used to live nature I.e sunrise & sunset.one can now also maintain it.

  • I agree. When I’m really exhausted my blood sugar gets low and no matter what I eat I can’t get full. It’s a very different feeling and frustrating.

  • I am also interested to know how long I should be spending in each stage of sleep. I am 74 years old.

  • I liked tracking my sleep. Noticed today that the sleep icon is missing. How do I get it back? Any suggestions?

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