Could a Lack of Sleep Be Stalling Your Weight Loss?

How much sleep are you getting each night? If you aren’t sure, it’s probably safe to assume the answer is “not enough.” While a lack of sleep could be the reason you wake up exhausted each morning, it could also be the reason why your weight loss has come to a screeching halt.

Sleep is incredibly important, and research has even shown that those who sleep for a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night live the longest.

The Sleep Foundation recommends that everyone strive for at least seven hours of quality sleep each night in order to help improve health and be as productive as possible throughout the day.

If you’re someone who burns the midnight oil getting work done or catching up on your favorite Netflix series, hopefully, this article will shift your mindset and show you why you need to put more focus on your sleep habits.

Lack of Sleep is Stalling Your Weight Loss

While you may think you’re “more productive” by getting less sleep, you may be doing your body more harm than good. When you aren’t getting enough quality sleep each night, there are many things going on inside the body that can create some negative consequences — especially when it comes to weight loss.

Below, we will look at some of the things that may occur due to lack of sleep and how poor sleep quality can affect your health and weight loss efforts.

1. Cortisol Levels Increase

One thing that takes place when your body is suffering from a lack of sleep is an increase in stress. When the body is under stress, it releases a stress hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol can create a domino effect within the body that may unleash one adverse effect after the next. For this reason, not only is it important to maintain healthy sleep patterns each night but also work on better managing stress levels throughout the day.

When cortisol levels go up and remain elevated, it can cause your body to increase fat storage (especially around the organs and abdomen). This can cause your body to pump the brakes when it comes to weight loss and do an about-face, causing you to gain weight.

2. Hunger Hormones Become Elevated

Piggybacking off the rise in cortisol is the release of a hunger hormone called ghrelin. When ghrelin levels increase due to a lack of sleep, the feeling of hunger becomes more pronounced.

Unfortunately, if high stress and cortisol are not managed properly, ghrelin levels can stay elevated throughout the day, causing you to have intense hunger pangs all day long.

Clearly, being able to turn off this hunger hormone may cause you to eat uncontrollably, leading to a caloric surplus for the day and stalling your weight loss.

By getting adequate amounts of sleep each night, you can better control ghrelin and help manage your hunger levels to align with your weight loss goals.

3. Your Energy is Low

If your goal is weight loss, more than likely, you’re probably exercising. This can be anything from lifting weights to doing cardio — possibly both.

What is the last thing you’re thinking about doing when you’re exhausted? Working out, right? Obviously, skipping workouts due to low energy doesn’t align with your weight loss goals, and the reason you’re tired stems back to lack of sleep.

When you don’t have energy, you move less during the day, aren’t as active, don’t get up and walk around as much, and to put it bluntly… you’re probably more lazy than usual. This can be solved by simply focusing on your sleep and getting the recommended minimum of seven hours.

Helpful Tips You Can Follow to Improve Sleep Quality

Below are some great tips to help you get a better night’s sleep, to wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle the day ahead.

• Set an alarm for when you should go to sleep
• Create a sleep schedule and stick to it
• Have a nighttime routine that you follow
• Limit caffeine and alcohol at night
• Don’t eat a large meal right before bed
• Exercise regularly but not around bedtime
• Ensure your bedroom is quiet and dark
• Lower the temperature in your bedroom to help your body relax
• Turn off all electronics (phones, televisions, tablets, etc.)
• Limit blue light exposure at night (from sources like smartphones, etc.)
• Reduce stress levels before getting into bed each night

About the Author: Matt Weik

Matt Weik is the Owner of Weik Fitness, LLC and is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. He’s a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. His work has been featured in over 85 fitness magazines and over 2,000 websites. Learn more or contact him at

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.