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How a Good Night's Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight

Sleep Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Did you know that a good night's sleep could be your secret weapon in the fight against excess weight?

Adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. During this time, our bodies use nutrients to replenish stores, our brains store memories and create new neural pathways, and our bodies repair themselves.

The Role of Hormones

Two key hormones, ghrelin and leptin, play a significant role in sleep and weight management:

  • Ghrelin: This hormone stimulates hunger (think of the "grrr" sound your stomach makes when you're hungry—ghrelin).

  • Leptin: This hormone signals when you're full.

When we sleep, leptin levels rise, telling our brains that we've had enough food for the night. Conversely, lack of sleep boosts ghrelin levels, increasing hunger. This makes us more likely to eat more and move less, leading to weight gain.

Metabolism and Sleep

Sleep plays a critical role in regulating our metabolism. During deep sleep, our bodies repair and regenerate tissues, build bone and muscle, and strengthen the immune system. Lack of sleep can slow down the metabolism, making it harder to burn calories efficiently.

Insulin Sensitivity

Adequate sleep helps maintain insulin sensitivity. When we don't get enough sleep, our bodies can become less responsive to insulin, leading to higher blood sugar levels and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This insulin resistance can also contribute to weight gain.

Cravings and Food Choices

Sleep deprivation can lead to poor food choices and increased cravings for high-calorie, sugary foods. This happens because sleep loss affects the brain's reward system, making unhealthy foods more appealing.

Stress and Cortisol

Poor sleep can elevate cortisol levels, the stress hormone, which can lead to increased appetite and cravings for comfort foods. Chronic high cortisol levels can contribute to abdominal fat storage and overall weight gain.

Factors Affecting Sleep

It's not just about getting more sleep. Various factors can disrupt our sleep patterns:

  • Stress

  • Alcohol

  • Weak bladder

  • Shift work

  • Late-night gaming/phone scrolling (blue light)

  • Lack of routine

  • Sickness/injury

  • Pregnancy

  • Early parenthood

  • Menopause

  • Room temperature

  • Noise (snoring, traffic, music)

Tips to Improve Your Sleep

Here are some practical ways to improve your sleep quality:


If your mind races at night, try journaling before bed. Keep a notebook nearby and write down your thoughts. It doesn't have to make sense—just write.

Breathing Exercises

Relax your jaw, close your mouth, and breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 2, then breathe out for 4. Repeat until you fall asleep. If your mind wanders, gently return to counting.

Limit Large Drinks Before Bed

Avoid big drinks 2 hours before bedtime to reduce nighttime bathroom trips. Go to the toilet just before bed.

Create a Sleep Haven

  • Use blackout curtains to block light, especially if you're a shift worker.

  • Invest in a white noise machine if noise is an issue.

  • Choose the best linens you can afford.

  • Use essential oils in a diffuser for a calming atmosphere.

Manage Blue Light Exposure

If you must use screens at night, adjust your blue light settings or use blue light-filtering glasses. Blue light can trick your brain into producing less melatonin, the "sleep hormone."

Establish a Routine

  • Set a consistent bedtime. Aim for the same time every night, give or take 30 minutes.

  • Develop a pre-sleep routine, like using a diffuser with relaxing essential oils and dimming the lights to promote melatonin production.

Invest in Quality Heating/Cooling

If you're struggling with menopause symptoms, or your house isn't well insulated, you may struggle with keeping a balanced body temperature. Investing in quality heating or cooling systems, along with decent curtains, can help you sleep well.

Sharing a Bed? Consider Single Duvets

No more stealing the covers! Single duvets can help ensure you have the right weight for you without disturbing your partner.


It's difficult to sleep when pregnancy aches and pains occur and you can only sleep on your side. Invest in a body pillow so you can sleep comfortably on your side. Resting the pillow between your knees can help with hip pain. Propping another pillow behind you will alleviate any worry about rolling onto your back in your sleep.


If you've been sitting for most of the day, getting up and moving your body can help burn off some excess energy. This is trial and error, as some people are energized by exercise. Test whether you'll be better off working out in the morning or evening. Stretching before bed could help calm the body and mind, as well as release any tension that could be keeping you up.

Essential Oils

I am obsessed with essential oils and their benefits. Diffusing essential oils or rolling diluted oils on the back of your neck or soles of your feet can do wonders for relaxing the body and preparing it for sleep. If you would like to learn more about how essential oils can help improve your sleep, I am affiliated with DoTERRA and can recommend oils that can help. Click this link to learn about the Bedtime Bliss Box.

In Conclusion

Incorporating healthy sleep habits can be a game-changer in your journey towards a healthier weight and overall well-being. By understanding the role of hormones like ghrelin and leptin, and addressing factors that affect your sleep, you can make meaningful changes to your routine.

Take Control of Your Sleep for a Healthier Life

  • Start Small: Pick one or two tips from above and gradually incorporate them into your nightly routine.

  • Be Consistent: Establish a regular bedtime and create a calming pre-sleep routine to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how different habits affect your sleep and adjust accordingly.

Remember, quality sleep is not a luxury—it's a necessity for maintaining a healthy weight, boosting your mood, and enhancing your overall quality of life. Empower yourself by prioritizing sleep, and watch how it transforms your health and well-being.

Ready to improve your sleep and health?

Take the first step today. Whether it’s journaling, adjusting your environment, or exploring the benefits of essential oils, find what works for you and commit to making sleep a priority.

For more personalized tips and to learn how essential oils can support your sleep, check out the Bedtime Bliss Box I recommend. Sweet dreams!


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