weight loss

4 minute read

How does losing weight help you sleep?

By Luke Chapman | Medically reviewed by Dr Luke Pratsides
how does losing weight help sleep

Sleep is your superpower. A solid eight hours of shut-eye is the gateway to better cognitive performance, processed emotions, and heightened energy levels. So make it your priority. Strive for good, regular sleep without interruption. 

But what happens when you're hit with a restless night? 

There are endless disruptions to sleep and sometimes they’re out of your control: you can’t do much about noisy neighbours or nearby fireworks displays. It’s when the disruption is self-inflicted that it demands change. If your weight is beginning to impact the length and quality of your sleep, you need to address it. 

How does gaining weight prevent you from sleeping?

You’ve probably heard of sleep apnoea. It’s a sleep-related breathing disorder that causes brief pauses in breathing during sleep and repeatedly wakes you up. A major cause of sleep apnoea stems from fat deposits in the upper respiratory tract narrowing the airway. Unsurprisingly, 70% of those who experience sleep apnea are obese

Obesity can also impact your sleep in other ways. Obese people often experience daytime drowsiness, which changes your sleep cycle and prevents an established sleeping routine. When you’re nodding off at various times throughout the day, it’s harder to sleep at night. It’s a seemingly trivial habit that leads to huge disruption. 

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to take actionable steps to improve your health and quality of sleep.

How does good sleep help you lose weight?

The relationship between weight and sleep is interlinked - obesity can cause sleep disruption and bad sleep can cause you to gain weight. It’s a vicious cycle. Those who slept less than seven hours per night were more likely to experience increased insulin resistance, salt retention, disrupted hunger hormones, and heightened inflammatory markers. It effectively adds more obstacles to weight loss.

Alongside diet and exercise, good sleep is the key to unlocking weight loss. Those who slept 8.5 hours had less of an appetite than those who slept just 5.5 hours. Basically, if you sleep well, you’re less likely to experience cravings for sugary snacks or unhealthy food. Give yourself the best chance at sticking to your diet by getting a good night’s rest.

And how does losing weight help you sleep?

Losing weight improves your blood sugar control, which reduces the chance of restless leg syndrome or periodic limb movements. 

There are also other lifestyle choices associated with losing weight that can improve the quality of your sleep. If you’re losing weight through exercise, especially intense workouts, you’re more likely to become tired when nighttime calls. Exercise helps you sleep well and sleeping well helps you exercise the next day. Stay in the healthy cycle. 

Losing weight has a positive effect on your mental health too. It creates a feeling of accomplishment, improves self-esteem, and promotes greater confidence. If you go to bed happy, you’re more likely to enjoy a good night’s sleep and wake up in a good mood. Once again, it’s cyclical. Get into a healthy routine and inspire a healthy mindset. 

Now we’ve covered your physical health and mental health, it’s time to talk about your sexual health. Strap in.

Losing weight often leads to a heightened libido due to increased levels of natural testosterone. If you’re enjoying better and longer sex before you hit the hay, you’re more likely to enjoy a deeper sleep. When you’ve had sex, the body reduces cortisol and releases hormones, oxytocin, and prolactin. That’s why you often feel very content after an orgasm. This applies for masturbation too, so you can enjoy the same benefits if you’re without a partner. 

The numan take

Utilise the positive impact of good sleep. If weight is blocking you from enjoying the many benefits, take action. Once you’ve unlocked the power of sleep, other healthy lifestyle choices will fall into place. Positive change creates positive change. So get started.