Is Poor Sleep Stopping You from Losing Weight?


When was the last time you got a great night’s sleep? If it’s been a while, or if you can’t remember at all, you’re not alone.

Forty-five percent of Americans report having their daily activities negatively affected by poor or insufficient sleep at least once per week.

Another 35 percent of Americans have said that, even though their sleep quantity is “normal” (meaning they get an average of 7.5 hours of sleep per night), their sleep quality is “poor” or “only fair.”

Clearly, sleep is a serious issue for a lot of Americans. In addition to causing you to feel groggy and unproductive the next day, both poor sleep quality and sleep quantity have the potential to hinder your weight loss goals.

Read on to learn more about the importance of sleep for weight loss and what you can do to reverse poor sleep today.

How Does Poor Sleep Affect Weight Loss?

There are a few different ways that poor sleep can make it harder for you to lose weight. Some of the most well-researched reasons for this include:

Poor Sleep Slows Down Your Metabolism

Poor sleep can negatively affect the way that your body converts calories into energy.

Insufficient sleep and poor sleep quality both appear to slow down the metabolism, meaning you burn fewer calories both when you’re at rest and during activity. If you’re burning fewer calories, you’re going to have a harder time losing weight.

Poor Sleep Can Trigger Fat Storage

Poor sleep also causes your body to produce higher levels of insulin and cortisol. When levels of these hormones are elevated, your body is more likely to store energy as fat.

People who are chronically stressed and dealing with high insulin and cortisol are also more inclined to store fat in the abdomen.

Poor Sleep Increases Appetite

Poor sleep also alters the hormones that regulate hunger and fullness.

When you’re short on sleep, your levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin rise and levels of the fullness promoting hormone leptin go down.

This means you’ll feel more hungry and have a harder time knowing when you’re satiated — that’s a recipe for disaster for anyone trying to lose weight.

Poor Sleep Increases Cravings

If you’re getting insufficient sleep, you’re also more likely to crave sugary, starchy foods — and give in to those cravings since sleep also affects willpower.

You may also be more inclined to snack at night, which can cause you to eat too many calories and have a harder time losing weight.

How to Improve Your Sleep

Clearly, sleep plays a major role in healthy weight loss and weight maintenance. If you’re having a hard time sleeping, these tips can help you improve your sleep quality and quantity so you can finally start shedding those unwanted pounds (and keep them off).

Limit Afternoon Caffeine Consumption

Caffeine has a half-life of 4-6 hours. This means that 4-6 hours after your last cup of coffee or caffeinated tea, as mentioned on sports amigos, 50 percent of that caffeine is still in your body, keeping you awake.

Stick to a Schedule

Your body loves routine. Establish a sleep schedule and stick to it, even on weekends. This helps your body know when it’s time to start winding down, and you’re less likely to struggle with sleepless nights.

Establish a Nighttime Routine

It’s also helpful to go through the same routine every night before bed. This further enforces the idea that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Your nighttime routine can be as long as you want — just make sure you stick to it. It can include activities like brushing your teeth, washing your face, reading, meditating, or stretching.

Make Your Bed More Comfortable

If you make your bed more comfortable and inviting, you’ll be more eager to fall into it at the end of the day. Consider investing in a new mattress, or buy a body pillow that supports your whole frame.

Keep Your Room Cool

Most sleep experts agree that the ideal bedroom temperature is around 66 degrees. Keeping your room cool will help you relax and fall asleep. You’ll also be less likely to wake up in the night.

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