4 Ways Sleep Deprivation Widens Your Waistline

When it comes to weight loss, most of us are already familiar with the usual advice: exercise more and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. But there’s another, just-as-important concept of weight loss that’s often overlooked: getting enough sleep. Find out how snoozing on sleep can negatively affect the scale.

Is Being Overweight Unhealthy?

Being overweight brings many health complications to the table. Your heart has to work harder to circulate blood through the body, which can open you up for heart stroke. Another risk is that you’re more likely to suffer from joint pain or injuries. This is because your joints have to endure excessive body fat. Overweight people are also more susceptible to sleep apnea, a disorder that causes abnormal breathing during sleep.

Ways Poor Sleep Adds Pounds

From a sluggish metabolism to losing the mojo for the gym, here are 4 ways a lack of shuteye can lead to weight gain.

1. Your Metabolism Will Stall

A shortage of sleep causes your body to amp up the production of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol decreases your metabolism, making those weight-loss goals ever so distant.

2. Your Hunger Will Soar

When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies produce more of the hormone ghrelin, which boosts our appetite, and less of the hormone leptin, which tells our body when to stop eating. This often results in consuming excess calories.

3. You’ll Be Less Likely to Exercise

After a night of no sleep, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. But skimping out on exercise only adds to the vicious cycle; a lack of exercise is associated with poor quality sleep.

4. You’ll Have More Opportunities to Eat

Think about it: Instead of being too busy counting sheep, you’ll be up and about and will thus have a higher chance of snacking at night.

Tips for Improving Sleep

Quality sleep begins with proper sleep hygiene. Check out these 5 tips (and this post) for making it to Dreamland:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even on the weekend)
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  • Exercise regularly
  • Do something relaxing before bed
  • Leave your bed if you can’t sleep

When to Seek Medical Advice for Sleep Issues

If you’re not getting quality sleep and you feel as though nothing is working, then you should consult with your doctor. Thyroid issues, asthma, and even what medications you take can all keep you up at night.

The Bottom Line

Without sleep, we become a hormonal mess with an increased chance of becoming overweight. We’re more likely to sit around all day with a bag of chips and not exercise. If you want to get serious about weight loss, then it’s time to start prioritizing sleep.


  • Obesity. National Kidney Foundation, 2022.
  • The surprising connection between sleep and weight loss. OB/GYN Associates of Alabama.
  • How Too Much Stress Can Cause Weight Gain (and What to Do About It). Orlando Health, 2020.
  • How a Lack of Sleep May Increase Calorie Consumption. Sleep Foundation, 2022.
  • Exercising for Better Sleep. Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  • Insomnia – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center. URMC – Rochester.

Have you ever felt hungrier than usual after a sleepless night? Did you gain weight? Share in the comments.

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