The Surprising Relationship Between Sleep and Weight Loss

image courtesy of Loughborough University (

The healthy trinity consists of sleep, nutrition and exercise. If you want to be physically and mentally healthy, those are the 3 bases to take care of.

I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t believe proper exercise and proper nutrition is important to living a healthy life. Yet there’s this “sleep machismo” pervading society – “I don’t need 7 hours sleep. I’ve had 3 hours, I’m good! Let’s go!” It’s like getting enough sleep means you’re lazy.

Turns out not getting enough sleep is a pretty terrible choice. Sleep is a critical component of getting the full benefits of exercise and proper nutrition. Study after study shows a very direct link between sleep and body fat. Getting 7 – 8 hours sleep a night, and no less has 3 very important benefits:

  1. You double the amount of fat lost while on a calorie-restricted diet. (55%!)
  2. You gain less fat without being on a calorie-restricted diet.
  3. You lose less non-fat body mass (like metabolism-enhancing muscle).

There are a number of physiological responses that lead to these results. Lack of sleep means you’ll be hungrier, burn less fat, store more fat, make poorer decisions because of reduced impulse control, and you’ll have an increased craving for in energy-dense high carb foods.

So the moral of the story is that with between 7 and 8 hours sleep, you’ll make better decisions, crave carby foods less & lose more fat. It’s worth it!












Oct. 5 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

not enough sleep, 55% less fat lost

sleep more, get less fat

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