Why sleep is Important for Weightloss

venn diagram on how sleep, exercise, and nutrition intersectWhy can’t you lose weight after working out all day? Sleep is connected to fitness as it seems to be connected to everything we do. Skimming on sleep sets your brain up to make decisions you might regret later. Sleep deprivation will dull the activity in the frontal lobe. It will in turn make your decision making and impulse control poor. Lack of impulse control and decision making forms bad habits: slipping on diets or skipping exercises. When you are overtired your reward centers in your brain begin to rev up. Being tired you will instinctively start looking for ways to feel good i.e having a piece of cake or indulging. When you are short on sleep your body craves more energy so it will immediately turn to high refined-carb snacks in order to stay awake.

Lack of sleep is also linked to hunger hormones, Ghrelin and Leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone released in the stomach that signals hunger in the brain. Levels are high when you eat and low when you finish. Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells. It suppresses hunger and signals fullness in the brain. When you don’t get enough sleep the body makes more Ghrelin and less Leptin leaving your appetite skyrocketing. With this anyone can see how vital sleep is since sleep deprivation can lead to eating more. You should see the counter productivity in sleeping a 3 hour night and lifting all day.

What Else does Recovery Do?

man asleep at workIn one study college basketball players were asked to spend 10 hours in bed each night for 5-7 weeks. They became faster, their reaction times improved, their accuracy increased and their fatigue levels increased. With this study we can see that weight loss isn’t the only thing in fitness that sleep can help us attain. why sleep is important for muscle growth. The president of Charlottesville neurology W. Christopher Walker, MD said “If you don’t sleep, you undermine your body”. Sleep is a time to recover, conserve energy, and repair muscles used during exercise. When we get enough quality sleep the body produces growth hormones. As children we need these hormones to grow. As adults we need them in order to build lean muscle and therefore it’s essential for athletic recovery.

Imagine 2 people on the same fitness regiment. They have the same workout schedules, they know which foods to limit, and they both eat meals full of vitamins. But one is the model of fitness success. The other has her heart in the right place but can’t seem to get the same results. The friend that seems to be struggling can’t seem to retain her focus and can’t control her hunger. We then later find out that the struggling friend is getting about 5 hours of sleep. The fit friend is getting 8 hours and going to bed at the same time every night. Although dedication to the gym and eating right are important dedication to sleep is just as if not more important.

Gains with the Gym and Your Energy

Most people believe that when you are going to the gym you are building muscle. This is a very popular misconception. When you are going to the gym you’re tearing muscle fibers and muscle doesn’t start to build until you’re resting. Recovery time is crucial when it comes to a fitness regiment. If you are only going to the gym and not resting you’re only increasing your chances at injury.

woman asleep at the gymGetting the recommended 8 hours of sleep will boost your energy and help build lean muscle faster. When you get less than 7 hours of sleep also has the potential to undo any dieting you are doing. Previously stated, sleep deprivation is linked with weight gain in regards to increasing appetite and decreasing energy burned. This does not exclude those who are working hard on their diets. No matter how healthily you may eat, not getting enough sleep will affect the way your diet affects you.  Sleep is incredibly important in order to become a higher functioning individual. So make sure you form a sleep schedule, stick to it, and get your recommended amount of sleep people!


In conclusion, sleep is just as important to weight loss as dieting or doing the actual workout. Sleep deprivation leads to changes in your frontal lobe which affects your decision making and impulse control heavily. When you don’t have as much control over decision making this will lead to bad habits. Without sleep your body produces more Ghrelin (hormone that makes you hungry) and less Leptin (hormone that tells your body it’s full). Which will likely make you eat more and put on extra calories. Getting less than 7 hours of sleep has the potential to undo the hard work you did during the day so make sure to get the recommended amount of sleep for you!

Tips for a Better Sleep Schedule:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night
  • Practice a bedtime ritual in order to wind down
  • Turn off your phone before you go to bed
  • Pick up a book instead of turning on the TV
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping at night try to reduce naps throughout the day
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals before bed time