The Link Between Sleep and Your Weight

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


The amount of shut-eye you get can influence the scale in surprising ways.

A good night’s sleep does more than make you feel refreshed. Getting enough zzz's can also help you avoid weight gain. In fact, women who sleep five hours or less a night are 15 percent more likely to become obese over the course of 16 years than those who sleep for at least seven hours. Read on to learn more about the surprising connection.

Sleep Halts Snacking A lack of slumber can cause changes in how your body regulates appetite, triggering cravings—even if you’re not truly hungry. But you won’t be reaching for the veggie platter when you’re sleep-deprived. Instead, you’ll crave foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, which are no help to your waistline.

Sleep Boosts Calorie Burn The connection between sleep and the number of calories you burn is two-fold. First, if you’re well rested, you’ll have more energy to be physically active, and any activity—even a brisk walk—can help to torch calories. Second, a healthy sleep schedule can actually keep your metabolism humming, allowing you to burn more calories even when you’re resting.

Sleep Can Help You Stick to a Diet Even if you have the best intentions to eat healthfully, a lack of sleep can quickly throw you off track. People who get less than six hours of shut-eye a night are more likely to eat out instead of cooking at home (and restaurant foods tend to be more caloric than foods you eat at your kitchen table). On top of this, if you’re awake late at night, you simply have more hours in the day to give in to the temptation of the cookie jar on your counter.

Of course, getting more sleep isn’t the sole solution to hitting your goal weight, but, when paired with a healthy diet and regular exercise, it can certainly help you peel off the pounds.