5 Ways Your Sleep Might Be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss

by | Nov 3, 2016 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022


Sleep is often described as a vital process with unknown function. While we don’t know all the ins and outs of how sleep repairs our bodies after a long day’, we do know that missing out on sleep can be detrimental to our health in a number of ways. Lack of sleep has been associated with a slew of health problems including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.

People are often quick to blame a weight loss plateau on their sweet tooth or their desk job, but could there be more to the story?

Sleep is an often overlooked part of the weight loss equation, but let’s do the math! While depriving yourself of sleep won’t inherently make you gain weight, there are a number of ways sleep could be sabotaging your weight loss.

When you’re sleep deprived:

1. You feel hungrier

Missing out on sleep can interfere with the normal rhythms of your hunger hormones. When you miss out on sleep, levels of ghrelin (your “I’m hungry” hormone) increase and levels of leptin (your “I’m full” hormone) decrease, causing you to feel a whole lot hungrier.

2. You eat more food!

You’re hungrier, so what? Well, when you’re sleep deprived you eat more food too. Some research shows that even one night of missing out on a few hours of sleep can lead people to eat over 500 more calories throughout the day!

3. You make poorer food choices…  

Specifically, lack of sleep increases people’s desire for high-calorie, unhealthy foods, such as potato chips, cakes, and cookies. Being deprived of a few hours of sleep for even a day or two can stimulate the brain’s reward center for high-fat, refined, carbohydrate-heavy processed foods. It’s no wonder that plain old stale donut looks extra delicious in the morning after you missed some ZZZs!

4. Your workouts suffer

Not only are you eating more food when you miss out on sleep, but your workouts are likely to take a hit too! People who are sleep deprived for only a few nights work out at lower intensities opt for lower-intensity activities, and therefore burn less calories than those who get a restful night’s sleep.

5. That’s if you workout at all!

While you would think being awake for more time throughout the day would give you even more opportunity to get moving, it’s no surprise that a lack of sleep has people feeling lethargic and desperate to conserve the energy they do have. Most studies show that when people skip out on sleep, they often skip out on their workouts too!

At Noom, we get to the root of the habit. Are you “hungrier” because you’re not sleeping enough or are you feeling hungrier because you’re bored? Master healthy habits with the help of a dedicated health coach and a Noom course!