Sleep and Weight Loss: Why Sleep Deprivation Causes Weight Gain

Are you frustrated by lack of weight loss despite your healthy eating habits and daily exercise?

There are lots of things that stall weight loss like sluggish thyroid, hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance etc.

But, there may be something simple you’re overlooking that’s sabotaging your progress.

sleep deprivation causes weight gain

There are two reasons why sleep deprivation causes weight gain.

1. Eating more sugar

When we’re sleep deprived we reach for foods that cause a stimulating effect and sugar is the quick go-to.

And boy does it get the job done. It breaks down quickly giving you an energy surge making you feel like you can conquer the world.

Unfortunately this high is short lived causing you to crash and burn. (Okay, just crash!)

You reach for more sugar—it amps you up—you come crashing down—you reach for more.

Countless more calories are consumed stalling your weight loss. Ugh!

2. Unbalanced Hormones

There are two hormones responsible for telling you when to eat and when to stop.

Ghrelin = Go
Leptin = Stop

When you’re sleep deprived you produce more ghrelin and less leptin. BOO!

This faulty balance in hormones ruins your weight loss—which makes you mad and depressed, right?

How to encourage sleep and weight loss. 

1. Schedule enough time for sleeping so that you get 7.5-9 hours of sleep per night.

2. Create a designated bedtime that you stick to no matter what. You must be consistent in order to have cumulative effects!

3. Eliminate caffeine or at least limit its consumption after 2:00pm since it’s a stimulant. I can’t even have it in the morning or I’ll be up all night.

4. Turn off all electronics one hour prior to bedtime. (The light in these devices inhibits melatonin production. Melatonin helps get you sleepy. Mmmmmm…)

If you’re a busy mom like me, you DESERVE to recharge each night. Trust me, sister, you’ve earned it! 



  1. Anna

    So true… For some odd reason we have come to view sleep as something bad as time where we do nothing. It could not be further from the truth…

    • Mariah Dolan


      I know, right? When did that happen? Sleep is our natural recovery time from the day. If we don’t honor it, we’ll get sick for sure. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

      ~ Mariah

      • Anna

        The view changed during the industrial revolution, before that sleep was regarded much higher than it is today.

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