The Role of Sleep in Weight Loss: How Rest Affects Your Waistline

Do you struggle to get a good night’s sleep? More than one in three adults in the U.S. do not get an adequate amount of sleep every night. While not enough sleep may not seem like a big issue, the deficit could make it difficult to lose weight. If you have difficulties with sleep or don’t get enough sleep, it may reflect on the scales.

The role of sleep in weight loss is complex, but research does indicate that sleep can be a major factor to consider when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Take a closer look at how sleep and losing weight are closely entwined below.

Sleep May Affect Your Caloric Intake

As odd as it may sound, getting enough sleep could mean you consume fewer calories throughout your waking hours. In one study published in 2022, researchers set out to determine if people who were overweight and getting low amounts of sleep were taking in more calories because of their sleep habits.

During the study, the overweight individuals were provided sleep counseling and began sleeping more hours per night. The average calorie consumption after getting more sleep dropped by 270 calories. Therefore, if you are not getting the recommended amount of sleep, you may have a tendency to reach for higher-calorie foods or simply overconsume.

Sleep Could Influence Your Food Choices

When you don’t get enough sleep at night, it affects how your brain functions. Specifically, you may have difficulties making the best decisions, even when it comes to deciding what foods or snacks you should be eating. Studies have even shown that people who are sleep-deprived tend to pay more for food and show a greater affinity to higher-calorie foods.

For example, it may be more tempting to pay a high price for fast food when you’re tired than to simply wait until you get home to prepare a healthy meal. Or, it may be more difficult to turn down a bowl of ice cream in favor of a healthy piece of fruit.

Sleep May Affect Your Metabolism

While sleep deprivation can affect your ability to make choices about what you eat and how much, it may actually have a detrimental impact on your body’s ability to burn calories as well. People who do not get enough sleep have a lower resting metabolic rate (RMR) than people who do get enough sleep.

The body’s metabolism continues to work even when you are not physically active. Your RMR is the rate at which your body burns calories when you are at rest. Therefore, sleep impediments could mean your body is utilizing fewer of the calories you take in than usual, which can make it harder to lose weight.

Sleep Schedules May Influence Your Dietary Patterns

The schedule you follow for sleep can even affect your ability to lose weight. For example, if you tend to stay up later at night, you may find yourself snacking on food later in the day when you are not active enough to burn off those extra calories. By contrast, if you make a habit of going to bed early, you may not be consuming as many late-night snacks or calories that your body does not necessarily need for energy expenditure.

Planning your meals around your sleep schedule and typical waking hours may help to structure your caloric intake in a way that best supports weight loss plans. For instance, you could schedule your bedtime for around three hours after your last meal of the day, or consume breakfast within an hour of waking.

Sleep May Enhance Physical Activity Levels

Physical activity and sleep are closely related and have a two-faceted relationship. If you are getting enough sleep, you are more likely to see greater energy levels and endurance. Therefore, you will likely be more physically active. Likewise, if you are more physically active during your waking hours, you are also more likely to sleep better at night.

Athletes commonly follow structured sleep plans because sleep and physical endurance can be so intertwined. When you need to operate at peak performance levels, good sleep plays a vital role. Therefore, if you are trying to lose weight, it is also a good idea to make sure you have a healthy sleep routine.

Final Thoughts About the Role of Sleep in Weight Loss

The bottom line is if you are working toward your own weight loss goals, paying close attention to your sleep patterns and quality can be exceptionally important. At the Dr. Urshan Health and Weight Loss Center, we work closely with clients to help them lose weight. Diet and nutrition are undeniably the most important starting point, but good sleep also plays a role. If you are looking to try a weight loss program that works for you, reach out to schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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