How sleep can be your secret weapon for weight loss

Getting enough sleep and why it matters for weight loss

Lite n’ Easy dietitian Ashleigh Jones shares how vital sleep is for your health, especially when it comes to weight loss. Plus, tips to stop you from tossing and turning to get a better night sleep.

It’s pretty common knowledge that we need at about 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night. But 1 in 3 Australians (YouGov data) are not getting enough sleep.


A study conducted by the Sleep Health Foundation highlights 33-45% of Australian adults suffer from sleep deprivation most nights.


We know that sleep deprivation can impact your overall health, but it can also impact weight gain and management. It can cause you to rely on junk food to provide more energy and consume excessive caffeine. You’ll also be less likely to exercise due to feeling tired, and rely on convenience and take away foods for dinner. 


Poor sleep can increase your appetite 

Poor sleep can lead to an increase in your appetite, making you more likely to overeat after a restless night. This is because a lack of sleep impacts our hormones and our hunger signals. This can lead to an increase in calorie intake as people feel tired and tend to reach for unhealthy foods as an energy source.


Sleep deprivation can impact mood and outlook

We’ve all been there after a bad night’s sleep. It creates daytime fatigue, our mood can be slightly testier, and it’s harder to muster our regular motivation for the day. This can impact our ability to achieve our goals, as we’re less likely to follow through on our plans of eating well and exercising. It’s not realistic to expect perfection every day. However, if poor sleep is a regular part of your life, it can have a serious impact over time.


Sleep and exercise

A lack of sleep can not only make you less likely to exercise, but it can also cause you to fatigue earlier in your workout. Research shows that lack of sleep on the brain is comparable to the effects of drinking too much alcohol. Getting enough sleep can help improve your exercise performance and is critical to recovery so that you can maintain muscle mass and bone health. 


Immunity and healing 

Quality sleep plays a critical role as part of a healthy immune system. It can help us to recover and rest from illness and injury. When we’re sleep-deprived, it can increase the risk of becoming run down and becoming unwell. To learn more about how to keep your immune system healthy, check out these tips.


Tips for a better night sleep


  • Create a routine and stick to it

Create a ritual every night. This might include a hot shower or bath, meditation, a cup of herbal tea and then going to bed. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.


  • Digital detox

Create a no-digital buffer zone before you go to bed. Use this time to wind down and avoid any screen time at least an hour before you go to bed. Try putting your phone on airplane mode so you won’t be disturbed!


  • Dinner time

Avoid eating heavy meals too close to bedtime. Eating big meals can cause discomfort from digestion and can make it hard to fall asleep. Eat a healthy meal in the evening and try to finish eating two to three hours before you go to bed.


  • Bedroom environment 

Optimise your bedroom environment, so it’s relaxing, quiet, dark, cool and clean. Ensure the temperature in your bedroom is comfortable. Close curtains to create a dark space and ensure there are no stimulants or noises. If light is an issue, then invest in a quality sleep mask. The dark cues your body’s natural sleep hormone melatonin to release.


  • Wake up to sunlight

When you wake up, try opening your curtains. Sunlight first thing in the morning helps your body realise that it’s morning and can help regulate your circadian rhythms. It’s like a natural caffeine hit! If it’s a bit gloomy outside, then make sure you turn on a few lights so you can bring the sunshine indoors.


  • Avoid too much caffeine

Consuming too much caffeine or having it too late in the day can impact sleep quality. If you are sensitive to caffeine, stop drinking caffeine at least 8 hours before bedtime. If you enjoy a coffee in the afternoon, consider switching to decaf or herbal tea. With the increase in people working from home, it can be harder to control your caffeine habits. Set caffeine boundaries and increase your water intake. Check out more working from home tips here


  • Alcohol

While alcohol might make you feel sleepy, alcohol consumption can actually worsen your sleep quality and reduce your sleep duration. A small amount of alcohol now and then is fine, but regular and excessive alcohol consumption can increase symptoms of sleep apnoea and snoring, disrupt your sleep patterns, and reduce melatonin production. Check out these other benefits if you’re looking to cut back on alcohol. 


  • Exercise for better sleep

Exercise is essential for your physical and mental health, but it can also help with getting a good night’s sleep. Moderate aerobic exercise can especially help sleep quality. But it’s important to be mindful of the time of day when exercising, as leaving it too late into the evening can sometimes keep you up. If you enjoy intense exercise, then try to do it earlier in the day, and in the late evenings, switch to yoga or a gentle walk.


Why Lite n’ Easy?

Lite n’ Easy delivers great tasting, healthy food that makes it easy to lose weight and manage your weight. Lite n’ Easy offers a range of healthy meals and convenient meal plans which take all the guesswork out of eating well. Give us a call on 13 15 12 or order online now.


Ashleigh Jones is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with extensive dietetics experience working across hospitals, corporate health, private practice and the food industry. A published researcher, she has collaborated actively across several disciplines including genetics, multiple sclerosis and sports nutrition. Ashleigh specialises in endocrine disorders with particular interest in weight management, pituitary and thyroid disorders, and management of diabetes. Ashleigh is passionate about promoting healthy habits, especially for busy people and offers simple and sustainable nutrition solutions.