Sleep well to lose weight: the 7 benefits

The greater the body weight, the more influence it will have on the way we sleep and the quality of sleep. You already know all the consequences that excess weight can have on your nights and your life.


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Sleep and body weight are closely related. There are studies that demonstrate that a poor night sleep favors weight gain, analyzing the negative effects of overweight obesity on sleep quality.

People who sleep less are more likely to become obese, as this increases their appetite and hunger.

That is why it is important to take these issues into account to ensure a good quality of life. 


How Does Weight Affect Sleep?


People who are overweight and obese have changes in body structures, such as increased neck circumference and improper placement of the tongue. And these characteristics favor snoring. 

The airways are compromised due to the pressure of the tongue filled with excess fat, as well as the increased size of the abdomen, reducing the volume of the lungs and the ability to breathe properly.

Snoring is the first symptom that indicates that there is a blockage in the throat.


Sleep apnea

As the airways become more congested, the flow of air can be completely interrupted, causing pauses in breathing. When this starts to be recurrent,  obstructive sleep apnea.

Most people who suffer from this disease are obese or overweight. A 10% increase in body weight makes the risk and severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnea go up by about 32%! Intriguing, isn't it?

Both obesity and Obstructive Sleep Apnea can lead to the development of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea doubles the risk of high blood pressure, and moderate or severe cases can triple it.



Some cases of obesity-related airway obstruction can be serious.

In normal breathing, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and this obstruction can lead to the retention of carbon dioxide by our body, giving rise to hypoventilation - a decrease in gas exchange essential for breathing.

Due to the decrease in breathing capacity, some obese people cannot breathe in enough oxygen, nor carry out the elimination of carbon dioxide. This increases the risk of serious cardiovascular complications as well as the risk of death.


Excessive Sleep During the Day

Excessive daytime sleep can be linked to various obesity-related sleep disorders, such as, for example, Sleep Apnea that we mentioned above.

Another example of the association between obesity and daytime sleep is parasomnias — abnormal sleep behaviors. One such condition is sleep eating disorder, where you binge-eat. And of course, when this occurs, it is more difficult to lose weight.


Losing Weight Improves Sleep

One study from Johns Hopkins University concluded that losing weight, especially in the abdominal area, can help you sleep better. For 6 months, the researchers followed obese patients who ended up losing weight of an average of 7 pounds of body mass and 15% of abdominal fat.

Before the weight change, the study identified several sleep problems: Obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, tiredness, restless sleep, excessive sleepiness and taking sedatives to help you sleep. 

At the end of the study, after the patients lost weight, there was an improvement of about 20% in their general health and sleep quality. This is yet another proof that sleep influences weight loss.


How Does Sleep Affect Weight?

If we don't have a good night's sleep, quality and restful sleep, this will make weight loss very difficult, and problems such as stress, anxiety And migraine.

Hormonal Imbalance

Ghrelin and leptin are hormones that regulate appetite, hunger and satiety. Its lack or excess changes the desire to eat, the choice of what to eat and the ability to stop eating.

The dysregulation of the functioning of these hormones is present in obese or overweight people.

Those who sleep less than 6 hours a night have an imbalance in the secretion of these substances. As we've already seen, sleeping a few hours increases the likelihood of putting on extra pounds.


Have one adequate sleep it implies:

  • Produce less ghrelin, responsible for increasing appetite
  • Increase leptin levels, which will make us feel full 


However, when we sleep badly, this is what happens:

  • The production of ghrelin increases, as does our desire to eat 
  • Growth hormone production slows down, which prevents fat loss
  • The production of melatonin is extremely affected, as it helps us sleep better
  • Insulin resistance, which is very harmful to the proper functioning of the body


Tendency to Eat More Calories

The hormonal imbalance between ghrelin and leptin leads to a greater tendency towards obesity. In addition to having more appetite, those who sleep less prefer to consume foods more caloric and rich in carbohydrates, such as sweets and other processed products.


More Time Available to Eat

The hormonal change that results from sleep deprivation can mean that, when you are awake longer, there is a greater opportunity for food intake, since, as we know, the hours we sleep are a period of fasting. 

So, in the time when we can't sleep, there is room to eat more and, consequently, accumulate body fat.


Lower Calorie Expenditure

Sleep deprivation can also lead to tiredness and lack of energy. This lack of motivation reduces the chances of us performing the level of physical activity necessary to expend the additional calories ingested.


Sleeping Well Weight Loss: The 7 Benefits

A healthy person spends, on average, about 80 calories per hour of sleep. This shows us that sleep alone does not make you lose weight. Above all, it is necessary to sleep well!

In short, here are the advantages of sleep well in the slimming process:

  • Decreased production of ghrelin - reduced hunger
  • Increased production of leptin - increased satiety
  • Growth hormone stimulation - renewal of the cellular system, maintenance of lean mass and reduction of fat
  • Melatonin production - better sleep and decreased fat accumulation
  • Decreased stress - reduced blood sugar and increased fat burning
  • Increased mood - more energy, activity and consequent calorie expenditure
  • Less desire to eat and eat less healthy foods


To take advantage of these benefits, it is not enough to sleep the amount of hours needed, but to have quality sleep. 

Thus, it is important to respect the sleep schedule, avoid exchanging night for day, sleep in a quiet environment with low light, and avoid drinking stimulants after 5 pm.

As we have already seen in this article, taking a nap 30 minutes after lunch also helps improve mood and sleep at night.


Quality sleep can be an excellent ally for weight loss and overall health. Sleeping well is living well, in every aspect!



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