The Fragile Link Between Sleep and Weight Loss

The fragile link between sleep and weight loss title image

To say that I was frustrated was an understatement….

I was eating right, drinking about 3 liters of water a day and exercising five to six times a week.

Yet no matter what I could not get rid of that sneaky little bulge around my mid-section.

I had reached the dreaded plateau!

When I shared my concerns with my personal trainer, Hollywood Physique Expert Eric the Trainer,  he asked a simple question:  “How much sleep are you getting these days?”

Ah yes, sleep!

Fast forward a few years and I am now a certified Hollywood Physique Expert and Personal Trainer myself and routinely have conversations with my clients about sleep.


That illusive state of perfect bliss we Moms never seem to attain …

We all know sleep  has a profound impact on our health and overall well being.  Yet most moms I know, myself included for far too many years, find it hard, if not downright impossible, to get the minimum amount required every single night.

It does not matter how young or old our kids are, we always have plenty of reasons to stay awake until the wee hours of the morning…

A crying baby …

A teenager who’s out way past her curfew…  Who is she with? What is she doing? What if she got in a car accident?




The dog that won’t stop barking…

A to-do list that seems to keep on growing no matter how many things we cross off…

Oh sure, there are a few exceptions — moms who will let nothing interfere with their beauty rest and routinely sleep eight or nine hours a night… God knows I envied those moms for most of the past nineteen years.

Yep, I had mastered the art of getting by… Running through my day on less than five hours of sleep a  night and somehow I thought I was doing great.

Let’s be honest, I actually thought I was a Rockstar! 

But in total honesty I was barely making it through my day and if it weren’t for my personal trainer I’d probably be doing the same today.

Yes sleep is indeed one of THE most powerful health and weight loss boosters around, right up there with water and exercise.

In the words of my personal trainer, Hollywood physique expert, Eric the Trainer, ‘When you exercise, you put in the request for transformation but the transformation does not happen until you sleep.

And guess what?

For this transformation to happen it is imperative to get a minimum of seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each and every night!

In other words, you can eat all the right things, drink ample amounts of water, and exercise daily, but unless you get your needed sleep you will not fully benefit from your efforts.

Here are a few reasons why:

Lack of Sleep Wreaks Havoc on Your Metabolism

A study conducted at the University of Chicago suggests that lack of sleep reduces weight loss efforts by 55%.  In addition, only 25% of weight loss by people who sleep less than 7 hours a night comes from fat. The rest comes from loss of muscle and water, which is not what you want if you plan on being healthy.

This is largely due to a slowing down of your metabolism in an effort to conserve energy to execute the repair work it needs to do at night.

Yes, even if you’re doing everything else right – going to the gym 5x per week, eating healthy, reducing stress, you’re still going to be slowing down your metabolism (and ultimately gaining fat) if you don’t sleep properly.

Lack of Sleep Derails Your Hunger Hormones

Lack of adequate sleep leads to a higher production of gherlin, the hormone that triggers your hunger.

At the same time lower levels of the hormone leptin are produced.  Leptin, often dubbed your ‘fat hormone”,  is the hormone which signals your body to STOP eating when you are full.  And if it’s out of whack you won’t have the brakes when you need them….

Have you ever found yourself ravenous at midnight, raiding the cupboard or fridge for anything to eat?

As your energy level drops, your body will naturally try to replenish, and you’ll feel hungry…

And we all know what kind of foods are totally irresistible at about midnight…  Chips… Cookies… Ice cream!

When you’re tired you tend to reach for foods which will give you a quick boost, and those foods tend to be foods  with a high sugar and fat content.

The boost you get will be short lived and you’ll quickly find yourself needing another boost.

You reach for another handful…

And another…

And before you know it the whole bag of chocolate chip cookies is GONE!

That late nigh snacking becomes a vicious cycle that does not complement your health or your curves!

[Tweet “Say “bye-bye” to late nate snacking with a good night’s sleep. #beaityrest #healtyliving #weightloss”]

Lack of Sleep Lowers Your Resistance

I am a pretty strong willed woman but when I don’t get enough sleep I am powerless to resist any temptation….

Who am I kidding?  No sleep and I am a mad woman!

I don’t usually stock chips or other empty carbs in the house — I  know better than to keep those evil snacks around 😉

But chocolate or anything sweet is fair game and when the midnight hour strikes and I will scarf it down in no time!  Only to regret it minutes latter….

But once the damage is done, it’s done.

Just remember if you are sleeping when the clock strikes midnight, those devious little snack gremlins won’t have any power over you 🙂

Lack of sleep Depletes Your Body of Vitamins and Minerals

Did you know that lack of sleep severely depletes your Vitamin C levels?

This important antioxidant plays a crucial role in stress management and in maintaining a healthy immune system.  If you’re constantly feeling edgy or can’t seem to beat that pesky cold, this could very well be the culprit.

And yes, proper vitamin C levels are key to slowing down aging caused by free radicals that are present all around us.  I know I want to look young as long as I can, don’t you?

Some studies have even shown that increasing your vitamin C intake before a workout can increase your calorie burn.  Woohoo! So why start out depleted?

Vitamin C also boost your mood.  So if you want to be happy in the morning, get your beauty sleep!  Your family will thank you for it!  I know mine does.

Your zinc levels will also be impacted negatively from lack of sleep, further compromising your immune system…


Lack of sleep is clearly not a good thing…

It’s not good for our health.

And it’s not good for our waistline.

So whatever you do, make sleep a priority.  It might be hard to change your habits initially but trust me when I tell you it is more than worth it.  You’ll not only feel a million times better, get more done and stay healthier, you’ll also look your best!


  1. I agree sleep is important. Even when you get older it is hard to get enough.

    • I think most people struggle with sleep to some extend or another Terry. I know I did for the longest time. It took my making a decision to make sleep a priority and change my habits to finally be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

  2. I just wrote about this same topic. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can help!

  3. I really didn’t think that there was a tie between the hours of sleep and weight loss. I am going to have to work on getting more sleep.

    • I don’t think most people realize how closely connected sleep and weight loss are Anne Marie… or that lack of adequate sleep is one of the biggest contributor to weight gain, especially around the mid section. All the best in getting that beauty rest!

  4. Jerry Marquardt says:

    I didn’t know the link was so close, but it makes sense. Thanks for the information and sharing it with us.

  5. Who knew! So many my lack of sleep is trumping my weight loss?

  6. Jacqui Odell says:

    Lots of great information. One thing I learned is that I really need to get better sleep!

  7. This is a wonderful post! Sleep is absolutely crucial to our wellbeing and really does affect our weight. When I’m training I have much better results when I get enough sleep. The weeks I do not I see a real difference or experience a sort of plateau. Thank you for sharing these really important points and encouragement.

    • I really wish I had known how important sleep is to my overall well being years ago April! It is amazing how much of a difference it makes. Like you, if for some reason or another I don’t get a good night’s sleep I feel it in my performance immediately. It baffled me that I ever thought I could get by just fine without good rest! Now I know better and I encourage all friends and clients to give sleep a try and find out through experience, what a powerful difference it makes 🙂

  8. Now that I’ve got my Thyroid under control I’ve got my sleep back. It’s so important. Thank you!!

    • You are so welcome Kim! So sorry you are having thyroid problems but happy to hear you have things back in control. Our thyroid pretty much controls everything and I’ve seen too many of my friends suffer from a hypoactive or hyperactive thyroid. It’s so painful to watch and not be able to help. I’m happy your story has a happy ending 🙂

  9. Karen S says:

    Lack of sleep has never been a problem for me. In recent years, it seems like I sleep too much! I’m still not sure I get enough vitamins, but at least whatever I get is sticking around.

    • You are blessed Karen! So many people would envy your ability to sleep easily. You’re right, though, too much sleep isn’t necessarily a good thing, and nutrition can certainly affect that.

  10. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    I was not aware of how close the link was between getting enough sleep and being able to lose weight. I always feel the difference in my daily behavior when I don’t get enough sleep.

  11. When I don’t get enough sleep, I want to eat more and it’s never healthy items! Makes a lot of sense.

    • I am right there with you Barrie. I do NOT make wise choices when I am sleep deprived and tend to eat way too much. Ironically this sleep deprivation that leads to overindulging and poor choices is one of the main contributors to the Freshman 15… Something my 19 year old recently discovered and fought really hard to avoid.

  12. Christina A. says:

    This is SO true! I am not a person that sleeps easily but when I can get on a schedule and do it well…I feel a world of difference overall…including on my focus and concentration which allows me to make better decisions for myself!

    • It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do Christina!!! Far too many of us accept less than we need on a regular basis and it’s such a shame because in doing so we deprive ourselves of so much more!!! All the best staying on a healthy schedule 🙂

  13. I find this very interesting. I need to let my friend in on this, she doesn’t sleep well.

    • Far too many women don’t get nearly enough sleep Charlene… I struggled for far too many years and still have nights where I get much less sleep than I want and need. I hope this helps your friend!

  14. Maybe this helps explain my weight gain – haven’t slept well in a long time

    • Sleep plays a crucial role in weight management Adrianne, yet it’s the last thing most people think about when they experience weight gain. I hope you are able to establish healthy sleep habits and see positive changes with your weight and overall health. Please reach out if I can help in any way. God bless.

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