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How does sleep affect weight loss?

This was a top weight loss question on Dr. Oz’s Sharecare website recently, and an issue that I think we often overlook in the pursuit of our ideal body and health. As such, I wanted to share my answer with all of you.

Depriving yourself of sleep is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Aside from lowering both your physical and cognitive abilities, sleep deprivation can cause immune system deficiencies, deficits in memory, and, very pressingly, weight gain. In fact, when trying to lose weight, getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t typically operate the way it should. Inadequate sleep can disrupt the hormones that regulate your appetite, making you eat more than usual. Studies have shown that you can eat up to 500 extra calories a day when you don’t get enough sleep. In addition, sleep is essential for regulating your metabolism, and without adequate sleep you don’t burn as many calories the next day. Decreased calorie burn, coupled with increased calorie consumption can actually cause steady weight gain over time.

Although each person’s needs tend to vary, the average adult requires between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. When attempting to lose weight, these needs are especially important to keep your energy levels up, your appetite in a healthy cycle, and your metabolism regulated.