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Is sleep the key to weight loss?

Is sleep the key to weight loss?

We all know the benefits of sleep in terms of boosting energy levels, fighting colds and staving off a bad mood, so it should come as no surprise that sleeping well can help you lose weight.

It’s not necessarily the sleeping that causes the weight loss, but rather the behaviour that follows it. When your sleep is interrupted your body is more likely to make excess ghrelin, the hormone which increases appetite. Coupled with this, not getting enough beauty sleep decreases the levels of leptin, the feel-full hormone.

Research has also shown that those who have 8.5 hours of sleep a night lost about twice as much fat as those who sleep around 5.5 hours per night. Even if they ate the same number of calories throughout the day.

But why does this extra snooze time affect the amount of weight we lose?

Research suggest that sleep ramps up our levels of cortisol a stress hormone which can lead to inflammation and inulin problems. Both of these can lead to weight gain.

Top tips for sleeping well

  1. Aim for a full 8.5 hours of sleep each night
  2. Sleep at the same time every night
  3. Turn down the heat – the metabolism gets cranked in colder rooms, helping your body to burn off those fat reserves.
  4. Keep the lights out – keeping lights off and shut off all the gadgets. Blue light from smartphones drains the body of melatonin (the hormone that helps you doze off). It’s thought that reduced melatonin also increases weight gain.
  5. Healthy habits during the day will also help the quality of sleep you get at night, so your eating habits and exercise regime will reflect on this. Drinking too much alcohol will have a detrimental impact on your overall sleep.
the author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running ultra marathons. In addition to training for her epic runs she finds time for strength training, Pilates and Yoga. .