Written on April 14, 2023 by Theresa Vuskovich, DMD. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Sleeping well is important for your overall health and can influence your ability to lose weight. Sleep deprivation increases your risk of heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and depression.[1,2] When you're on a weight loss journey, it's easy to focus on diet and exercise and not prioritize sleep. However, a recent study suggests better sleep can help you achieve your weight loss goals.  Why is sleep important for weight loss? In this article, you will learn the importance of sleeping well in weight loss and how to improve the quality of your sleep.
The average adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Sleeping well is not only about how much time you spend asleep but also about the quality of your sleep. A good night's sleep involves staying asleep throughout the night and cycling through all stages of sleep.
At night, we cycle through light and deep sleep stages. Each stage of sleep restores the body, particularly the brain's ability to process and remember information. Let's take a closer look at the stages of sleep [5-8]:
Sleeping well means sleeping for at least 7 hours a night, sleeping continuously during the night, and cycling through the stages of sleep. Although more research is needed to understand how sleep affects weight, current research indicates that sleep can affect your self-control, hormones, and metabolism.
Besides memory, sleep can also influence other cognitive processes, including self-regulation or self-control. Sleep supports long-term health by restoring the nervous system and reinforcing self-control; an important component of weight loss.  With self-control, you can rationalize your daily choices to achieve your weight loss goals. A lack of sleep and self-control can lead to poor diet and exercise choices.
Lack of sleep can negatively affect your hormone levels, specifically ghrelin and leptin. Leptin regulates appetite and satiety, collaborating with another hormone, ghrelin. Leptin reduces your appetite and promotes weight loss, while ghrelin boosts your appetite. Research suggests insomnia can lead to greater ghrelin levels, and lack of sleep can reduce leptin levels. 
Additionally, sleep deprivation increases cortisol, which can cause weight gain. The hormone cortisol increases blood sugar levels by releasing stored glucose. When you don't get enough sleep, your blood sugar levels rise, and your risk of diabetes increases. [10,11]
Insufficient sleep makes you tired during the day, causing you to become sedentary and demotivated to exercise. Exercise is crucial to boosting your metabolism and processing glucose effectively. Without sufficient exercise, your metabolism may slow and predispose you to weight gain.
If you are having trouble sleeping, the following tips can help [5,6]:
Weight Care+ is a weight management program offering support throughout the weight loss process. Weight Care+ includes virtual care visits with a healthcare provider who can offer guidance on weight loss and sleeping well. Your healthcare provider will create an individualized plan for you, which may include medication. However, medications are prescribed based on clinical judgment and are not guaranteed. Weight Care+ helps you get your weight down to a science.