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The Link Between Sleep and Weight Loss

What You Need to Know

There have been many studies conducted about the link between sleep and weight gain, but there have been fewer conducted about the link between sleep and weight loss. Luckily, there are still some studies about this linkage between sleep and weight loss, and this blog will go over the findings between two different studies published in 2012.

The first study we’ll discuss examines the relationship between sleep quality and quantity and weight loss in women. By comparing the higher amount of fat mass lost and lean mass lost in groups that slept 8.5 hours per night and 5.5 hours per night, respectively, this study concluded that “sleep may play a role in preserving lean body mass during weight loss that could promote higher resting energy expenditure and greater weight-loss over time.” [1] It also found that “continual (habitual) unhealthy sleep may reduce the potential for successful long-term weight loss and maintenance.” [1] With these specific findings from this study, it can be concluded that more sleep and better quality sleep can aid women in weight loss or weight maintenance.

To further support these findings, in an article provided by the National Institutes of Health regarding a study of overweight adults, it is stated, “Compared with participants who slept 8.5 hours per night, participants who slept only 5.5 hours lost 55% less body fat and 60% more fat-free mass.” [2] Similar to the first study, this study also leads to the conclusion that, in overweight adults, more sleep is likely to result in a higher percentage of fat mass lost, whereas less sleep is associated with a higher percentage of lean mass lost.

Even though these two studies provide similar findings, there is still much more to be researched about the link between sleep and weight loss. If you have any health concerns regarding your weight and/or sleeping issues, it is important to discuss it with your primary care physician, a nutritionist, or a somnologist (sleep doctor/specialist).


1. Thomson, C. A., Morrow, K. L., Flatt, S. W., Wertheim, B. C., Perfect, M. M., Ravia, J. J., Sherwood, N. E., Karanja, N., & Rock, C. L. (2012). Relationship between sleep quality and quantity and weight loss in women participating in a weight-loss intervention trial. Obesity, 20(7), 1419–1425.

2. Chaput, J. P., & Tremblay, A. (2012). Adequate sleep to improve the treatment of obesity. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne, 184(18), 1975–1976.



Author: Lauryn Agron

Editor: Anum Khan

Health scientist: Aseelah Saiyed

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