Why Is A Good Night’s Sleep So Important For Weight Loss?

Sleep and weight loss go hand in hand, but just how much of an impact does a rough night’s sleep have on your diet and fitness? Put it this way, if you’ve been doing everything right and still aren’t losing weight, it might be your night time routine that’s holding you back. Let’s take a look at why sleep is so important for weight loss and the simple changes you can make to improve your sleeping habits. 

Can lack of sleep increase your appetite?

We’ve all been there after a bad night’s sleep, where no matter how much you eat, you still feel hungry and groggy. Well, there’s a good reason for that. An increase in appetite after being deprived of sleep is most likely caused by two important hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. 

  • Ghrelin is a hormone released in the stomach that signals hunger in the brain. Levels are high before you eat, and low after you eat. 
  • Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells, suppressing hunger and signalling fullness in the brain.

So when you don’t get enough sleep, your body makes more ghrelin and less leptin, which is why you feel hungrier throughout the day. Additionally, the stress hormone cortisol is higher when your sleep is poor, which may also increase appetite.

You consume more calories if you’re a poor sleeper

An increased appetite inevitably means an increase in calories. When tired, you’re more likely to grab convenient foods that are high in calories, carbs, and fat, as it appears that the reward centres of the brain are more stimulated by food when you’re sleep deprived.

Sleep deprivation can affect your workout performance

It’s hard to feel motivated for the gym when you haven’t had a very good sleep. The daytime fatigue that follows a poor night’s sleep means you’re more likely to get tired earlier during a workout, decreasing the speed and intensity of each exercise. 

Sleep has an effect on your resting metabolic rate

Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of calories your body burns when you do nothing but rest. RMR is affected by age, weight, height, sex, and muscle mass. 

Some research has found that sleep deprivation may lower your RMR. The findings are mixed, but there does seem to be an agreement on poor sleep causing muscle loss. Muscle burns more calories when resting than fat does, so when muscle loss occurs, the resting metabolic rate decreases.

So what changes can I make at night to help fuel my weight loss?

Though it’s impossible to improve your sleeping pattern overnight, there are a few simple changes you can make to help you get in a healthy routine:

  • Even if you’re not quite tired yet, get yourself ready for bed a little earlier than you usually would. Switching off the TV, doing your skincare routine, and brushing your teeth signals to your body that it’s time to wind down.
  • Get into bed and leave your phone on the other side of the room. The harsh blue light emitted from your phone makes it difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day, so try swapping your night-time scroll for a book instead. 
  • Switch up your workout routine. If you haven’t been feeling motivated to wake up on time for the gym lately, trying something new like a barre class or dance workout might just kick-start your love for fitness again. The change will help you feel more energised throughout the day and reduce the time it takes for you to fall asleep.
  • Focus on your nutrition. Eating healthy and balanced meals influences the quality of your sleep, helping you increase the amount of hours you’re getting at night. 

To help you get into a better night-time routine, we have a large selection of healthy meal prep plans tailored to your dietary requirements. Each nutritious dish is packed with a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and veg to ensure you’re getting the right fuel for a good night’s sleep.