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Does Sleep Affect Weight Loss

Why Is Sleep More Important Than Exercise When Trying to Lose Weight?

In most cases, the basic formula for weight loss is relatively simple:  you simply need to burn more calories than you consume in a day. If you eat too much of the wrong foods and fail to exercise properly, the end result is that you will gain weight.

In other cases, however, it may not be quite so simple. There are actually a number of factors that affect your ability to maintain a healthy weight, many of which may not be so obvious.

Just about every aspect of your health is influenced by your sleep habits, so it should come as no surprise that your body weight is affected, as well.

If you snore, remember that snoring affects sleep quality negatively.  Wearing the right snoring aids are critical to losing weight.

Below is a breakdown of the two biggest ways that your poor sleep habits may be wrecking your ability to achieve your weight loss goals:

If You Are Lacking Sleep, You Are Also Lacking Energy

This seems like a statement of the obvious, but let’s consider the actual real-life consequences of your low energy levels.  Of course, if you are feeling exhausted, you’re not very likely to get the proper amount of daily exercise.

You are also not very likely to be interested in preparing a healthy meal for yourself.  Instead, you may opt for frozen “convenience” foods or even takeout.  In general, fostering poor sleep habits is the first step in developing an unhealthy (and overweight) lifestyle.

Poor Sleep Habits Place An Unnecessary Burden On Your Endocrine System

While the first point that we mentioned is a bit more of a common sense notion, this particular side effect of sleep deprivation has been backed by countless scientific studies.

The impact of insomnia on your endocrine system and metabolism is profound, and the outward signs can be attributed primarily to cortisol.  Cortisol is a stress hormone that has far-reaching effects on the body, including a significant influence over your appetite and your body’s ability to process nutrients.

Essentially, what that means is that when cortisol levels are high, you are likely to eat more of the foods that are bad for you, and your body will process it into visceral and subcutaneous fat stores almost immediately.

So, if cortisol levels are out of balance, you can forget about any plans for losing weight.  It simply isn’t going to happen.  Additionally, as if cortisol weren’t doing enough damage on its own, sleep deprived individuals should also worry about the natural balance of the two hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is the hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to eat.  Leptin is what tells your brain that you are full, and you should stop eating.

When you have not had a proper night’s rest, ghrelin levels skyrocket, while leptin levels plummet.  The obvious result is your botched diet plan.

Finally, when you are tired, you are more likely to lean on caffeine as a way of staying alert and making it through your day.  Research has shown that above-average caffeine intake is a key player in the problem of insulin resistance, which is a known contributor to obesity.

What all of this should tell you is that if you would like to make progress toward a healthier weight, you should first evaluate your sleep habits.

If you find that these patterns are out of balance, it’s best to address these concerns before moving on to other factors, such as diet and exercise.

Once you have achieved a sense of stability in all of these areas, you should find that achieving your weight loss goals is now (finally) a very real possibility.

About the Author Helen Hudson

Hi, I'm Helen Hudson a health geek mom to two awesome boys. Wife of a snoring husband. Photographer, writer and Co-Editor at

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