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The Importance Of Sleep For Weight Loss & Health


By Myprotein Writer |

Chloe Thurston 

Sleep is the key to weight management due to the dramatic impact it has on your hormones, which effects how your body burns fat, how you store fat and how you maintain your muscle.

Trying to lose weight effectively on little sleep could almost be compared to trying to use your phone all day without any battery…

Feeling Fatigued?

According to recent research, lack of sleep doesn’t only make you tired and moody but it can also cause you to gain weight (1,2,3).

In a recent study those that had 5 hours of sleep gained two pounds per week compared to the group that got more sleep (4). One in three Brits are already on a regular basis are getting only 5 hours sleep (5,6).

why am i always tired

To put it in a more relatable terms, when you are lacking on sleep you are more likely to:

1) Stop off at a Starbucks and get that large latte to get you going (300kcal, 15g Fat, 25g Carbs and 16g protein).

2) Get one or two cans of full sugar Red Bull to wake you up (150kcal, 0g Fat, 26g Carbs and 0g Protein).

3) Perhaps, you may be more tempted to skip your gym session that day because you are too tired.

4) Order a take away because the idea of cooking is too much effort and then go to sleep because your exhausted.

Sleep Acts As Brain Fuel

According to the National Sleep Foundation,  most people need around 7-9 hours of sleep each night (5,6).

If you get less than this then the body will react in way to retrieve as much energy as possible and expend as little energy as possible.

How Hormones Are Affected
By Lack Of Sleep

When you are sleep deprived it can cause havoc on your hormones. Hunger hormones including Grehlin and Leptin are especially affected.

Ghrelin – “I’m Hungry

Grehlin acts on the brain to signal that it is time to eat (5). However, during sleep deprivation this signal is intensified and the body make more Grehlin – causing you to constantly think its time to eat

Leptin – “Stop Eating”

This hormone acts as the brains’ satiety hormone that tells you to stop eating. However, lack of sleep will lead to the hormone being suppressed, causing you to often eat more (7).

Combining the two is a recipe for disaster – a splash of ice cream, a hint of chocolate and a dash of late night binging.

Cortisol – Stress Hormone

Cortisol that is produced during times of stress. This hormone signals your body to break down muscle (catabolic) – yes all those hard earned ‘gains’ are lost due losing out on sleep (8).

Research has shown that with just four days less sleep, your bodies ability to process insulin – the hormone that converts carbohydrates and starches into energy – goes faulty. Overall, the insulin sensitivity is reduced by 30% (9).

Tips For Improved Sleep 

ghrelin and leptin

? Stick to a schedule of when to stop working; when to go sleep and when to get up. It often takes about 2 weeks for the body to get into any habit – so stick it out and it will begin to become natural.

? Turn off the light and any electrical devices. Darkness is the signal to allow your body to release Melatonin (natural sleep hormone).

? Watch when you are eating your meals as going to sleep on a full stomach may cause heart-burn and trouble sleeping.

? Stay clear of caffeine before bed as it can stay in your system for up to 6 hours!

Take Home Message

Overall, not getting adequate sleep is only going to prevent any weight loss or any muscle growth long term.

Implement some or all of these tips into your routine to try and enhance your sleeping patterns!


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