Sleep, Your Health, & Your Weight Loss Efforts

By Joel Marion, CISSN

Hey, it’s Joel, and my good friend Captain Obvious joins me today to share a very important piece of fat-burning advice. What say you, Captain? “Sleep, or lack thereof, can have a tremendous impact on your weight loss progress.”

That does seem pretty obvious, Captain. Do you care to elaborate?

“Sleep restriction (typically around 6 hours or less) is associated with a laundry list of negative outcomes that can deter fat loss and ravage health, including:

Ouch, Captain Obvious, that sounds like a fat-storing nightmare (no pun intended)! Anything else you’d like to share?

“Actually, yes. In one recent study, researchers from the Universities of Chicago and Wisconsin set out to see if sleep restriction had an impact on the results of a reduced-calorie diet, and what they found was nothing short of jaw-dropping. 

Interestingly, both groups of participants lost the same amount of weight over the course of the study; however, the composition of the weight differed dramatically. The sleep-restricted folks (who slept < 6 hours per night) lost 55% LESS fat and 60% MORE calorie-burning muscle mass than individuals who slept 8+ hours.1

That’s a tremendous difference, and it can have an enormous impact on the way you look, feel, and perform, as well as your propensity to re-gain weight. Losing muscle not only makes you look “skinny fat,” it also translates to reductions in metabolic rate, which means that you’ll be more likely to gain weight once you stop dieting.”

So, what you’re saying is that folks should aim to get 7 – 8 hours of quality sleep each night if they want to optimize metabolism and fat burning, right?



  1. Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Schoeller DA, Penev PD. Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(7):435. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006.