How Sleep Affects Weight Loss

01 Aug, 2022



Tips & Tricks


If you’re trying to lose a few kilos but you’re not seeing the progress you would like, you may want to take a closer look at how much sleep you’re getting. Everyone needs to sleep, but sometimes we don’t give it the priority that it needs. But did you know that not getting the recommended amount of sleep can increase your risk of several health conditions, including obesity?

We take a look at how sleep affects weight loss and the benefits of having a healthy sleep routine.

The connection between sleep and weight gain

It’s generally recommended that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. If you’re not getting this amount of sleep regularly, you could be at risk of weight gain and obesity. When we don’t get adequate sleep, our hormones become out of balance. This includes our appetite hormones: ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is the hormone that signals hunger in the brain, while leptin signals fullness in the brain, suppressing hunger. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body responds to this ‘stress’ by producing less leptin and more ghrelin. When this happens, we may have the urge to eat more food, thus exceeding our calorie allowance.

So, not getting enough sleep may make us eat more, but that’s not the full picture. You may also find it more difficult to pass on the less nutritious food and develop cravings for high-calorie foods. This is because lack of sleep raises the levels of endocannabinoids, the chemical signals linked to appetite.

Sleep loss and exercise

Many of us will combine a weight loss program with some form of exercise. But if you’re not getting enough sleep, you may find that your motivation to exercise disappears. When you’re tired, you’re less likely to take part in exercise and physical activity and become more sedentary.

So what can you do about it?

As we’ve seen, getting between seven and nine hours of sleep is key to keeping your appetite in check and your energy levels topped up. So, how do you establish healthy sleep habits?

Here are some simple steps you can follow:

  • Establish a nightly routine that includes relaxing activities such as reading, listening to music or taking a bath
  • Ensure your bedroom is at a comfortable temperature and that you can block out the light
  • Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time every day
  • Turn off electronics that emit blue light at least 60 minutes before you go to bed
  • Avoid large meals, alcohol and caffeine in the evening
  • Take at least thirty minutes of exercise a day

One way to get a good understanding of how your body responds to diet, exercise and sleep is to take a DNA wellness test with myDNA. The results will give you insights into how your body functions, such as sleep, based on your DNA. We’ll also tell you exactly what to eat and how to train to achieve the best results. Join over 85,000 members from around the world who have taken our test and unlocked the power of their DNA to make better health and wellness choices.

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