How sleep affects metabolism


Have you ever lost sleep or had a restless night and noticed you wanted to snack more the next day on unhealthy snack foods? Your fat regulating hormones may be out of sleep affects metabolism

Getting enough sleep not only gets your hormones out of whack but also affects part of the brain that controls hunger for those foods that are easily stored as fat.

As a recent article in the Journal of Nature Communications found a link between sleep loss and obesity showing how sleep affects metabolism causing more fat storage. 

Hormones that regulate metabolism

The hormones that regulate metabolism get out of whack if we don’t get enough sleep at night. There are several hormones that regulate whether we burn or store fat. When these get out of sync our brain causes us to want to eat those foods that store fat.

Let’s take a look at the hormones and what each one does:

Leptin is made by adipose tissue (fat cells) and are adipokines (cell signaling proteins).  Leptin is also called the satiety hormone because it lets us know we are satisfied. Leptin also regulates energy balance. You want plenty of Leptin circulating in your blood.  Sleep deprivation can lower the amount. So if you are not sleeping well, that amount of Leptin is lowered causing you to feel you are not sleep affects metabolism

Ghrelin opposes Leptin. Ghrelin is called the hunger hormone because it lets us know we are hungry. Ghrelin is also called lenomorelin (a peptide hormone) and is made in our gastrointestinal tract. It functions as a neuropeptide in the Central Nervous System.  Ghrelin not only regulates appetite but also plays a part in regulating the rate at which energy is used. When you don’t get enough sleep this hormone increases and you feel hungry.

Insulin is a hormone that carries glucose into cells.  It is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is a carrier hormone as it promotes the absorption of glucose into fat, liver and skeletal muscle cells. High levels of insulin circulating in the blood cause more fat to be stored. It was found that not sleeping well often caused insulin resistance to be higher. This contributes to glucose intolerance increasing appetite as leptin and ghrelin were affected.

Glucagon works the opposite of insulin. It works to raise the concentration of glucose. High levels of glucagon in blood is what you need to release glucose from cells to be metabolized. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to lowered levels of glucagon along with higher levels of insulin.

Growth hormone is made in Stage IV sleep and is called  “Fountain of Youth Hormone” it improves fat metabolism. Light sleepers may not get to this stage of sleep very often. This may be one reason why as you age, you have less Human Growth Hormone. Growth hormone is a stress hormone that causes the release of glucose and fatty acids.

Cortisol is released when the body is under stress. This hormone causes fat storage when constantly released when stress is chronic. Cortisol counteracts insulin, contributes to hyperglycemia and inhibits the peripheral use of glucose (insulin resistance). When you are not getting the right amount of sleep, you are stressed and therefore release more cortisol.

Adiponectin  is an anti-inflammatory hormone that can help to decrease inflammation thereby helping to decrease insulin resistance. Reduced sleep lowers the release of Adiponectin.

Balancing metabolism hormones

As we get older sometimes we have trouble sleeping.  If this is a problem you have you are not alone,  thousands upon thousands of people struggle to get a good night’s sleep.  Helping folks sleep well is a multi-million dollar industry.

If you are a woman over 50 and not sleeping well I would love to help you by giving you the information and tools to help you sleep better as this is one of the keys to getting a keeping a flat abdomen.

By sleeping well, you can begin to eat less and less fat is stored in the place we all know it goes to first – our stomach area. Your hormones come more into balance and you will have an easier time losing that extra fat around your middle.

You can also try some weight loss supplements that are natural and can help your metabolism and suppress your appetite. Sometimes a little help is needed to get started on a better road.

Check out my post Vastly increase your energy in 7 days for a great way to jump-start that metabolism.


Tips for a good nights sleepsleeping woman - How sleep affects metabolism

  • Do you know about the hormone Melatonin? It is a hormone made by our bodies to help us sleep and is defined as:

Melatonin defined

Note the phrase “in response to darkness

This is an important hormone for sleep. If you have trouble sleeping you may not be secreting enough of this hormone.  To increase your bodies secretion of melatonin make sure you have enough darkness when you try to sleep. Turn off or cover sources of light in your sleep area.  You can also take a melatonin supplement.

  • Exercise regularly. This is so important not just for sleeping well at night but also for your health in general, helping you feel good and increase your metabolism and energy. Find something you like to do to get that much-needed exercise. You will be much more likely to stick with it.  Exercising is one of the best ways to sleep better at night. Try exercise ball ab workouts for women.
  • No heavy meals before bedtime.  Heavy meals close to bedtime disturbs sleep in a number of ways. For instance, if you are prone to acid reflux eating a heavy meal before bedtime will almost guarantee you will get it.  If you must eat a snack before bedtime then a high protein snack is best, a small one.
  • Give yourself time to wind down.  Finish all activities including exercising and bookkeeping, talking on the phone, etc. before trying to sleep.  Make sure you finish planning the next day also. Trying to plan what you are doing the next day at the same time you are trying to sleep will delay your falling asleep.sleeping on moon - How Sleep Affects Metabolism
  • Make your room cooler.  Studies have shown that sleep is easier with room temperatures that range from 60 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  Your body actually is at its lowest temperature after about 4 hours of sleep. This is one reason lowering the temperature of your room air can help you sleep as it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.
  •  Limit caffeine consumption in the hours before you plan to sleep. I don’t have any caffeine after 3:00 pm.  Have some decaf tea or coffee instead.
  • Taking a warm bath or shower can help you relax before trying to sleep. Then unwind with some delicious chamomile tea! I also like warm milk (it has tryptophan a precursor to melatonin). By the way, so does turkey!
  • Set your internal clock by getting up and going to sleep at the same time each day.

I hope I have helped you learn about how sleep affects metabolism. If you have any tips for sleeping better or any comments or questions on this please leave me a comment in the comment section below. I want to hear from you.

This article has 18 Comments

  1. this is really interesting topic. I know I’ve heard in infomercials and read online that guys who want to get fit should make sure they get enough sleep, but it’s never been explained why, or rather, what the link is between getting enough sleep and getting fitter. How, scientifically, sleep affects workout progress.

    Yes, I know this post is for women, but still, an explanation on the link between sleep and fitness is pretty welcome because I’ve never seen or read it explained before.

    1. You are right Hilton the link between sleep and fitness is the same for men and women alike. I am glad I could help you understand how sleep affects metabolism. I appreciate you comments and glad I helped you better understand how sleep affects metabolism. If you have any other comments or questions let me know as I love helping others with fitness.

  2. My sister has been trying to lose weight since like forever. She tries to maintain a healthy diet and do aerobics, but all of them don’t seem to be very effective.

    I suspected that it was due to her habit of not sleeping early, and also always eating before sleep time. This article have confirmed my assumptions. I will surely convey this to her.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. I am so glad you found this helpful for your sister. I hope she begins to sleep better as this will definitely help her to balance her metabolism. Please let me know if you or your sister have any questions. I would love to help her with any fitness goals.

  3. very good tips on sleep improvement and metabolism, in the past I was only sleeping 3-5 hours per day and gained quite a bit of weight. Finally after years of struggling I have my sleep schedule much better and my weight is where it should be and maintaining pretty well.

    1. I am so glad you have been getting enough sleep and your weight at your target. Getting a good night’s sleep is so important in balancing our metabolism hormones and it is often overlooked. Congratulations on reaching your goal and maintaining your weight where you want it.

  4. This a subject close to my heart. Even tho I’m a guy I have trouble sleeping regularly. Many years as a chef and my body is in constant pain, I know the next day all day long if I have had a bad night, I’m always tired and hungry and grumpy lol. My wife also suffers from insomnia and I will show her this article. Great info thanks.

    1. Hi Kevin thanks for your comment. I hope you can use the tips I mentioned to get better sleep. I would like to add that exercise plays an important part in decreasing inflammation and helping with pain. Tell your wife I hope she can begin to sleep better also. Please let me know if you or your wife have any questions.

  5. A very interesting article and how sleep can have such an impact on hormone production. I now a lot of people who can benefit from reading this article as they more often then not have 3 to 4 hours of sleep per night. Thank you for sharing even though this site was meant for women 🙂

    1. Hi Vinnie, yes this site is mainly for women but can be applied just as easily to men also. It is my goal to help those understand how sleep does affect metabolism as this topic is so often overlooked. I hope the people you mentioned have a chance to read my article.

  6. Well researched article with loads of interesting information and tips on how to get a good night’s sleep. Whilst the article is directed towards women the tips for a good night’s sleep can apply equally to men.I shall certainly pass it on to my wife whose tossing and turning in bed frequently wakes me up!

    1. Thank you James. I know the tips for sleep applies to both men and women. I hope your wife can apply some of them and she starts
      sleeping better. It really does make a difference in your health and will help lose unwanted pounds. Let me know if you have any

  7. Omg love this site I need to get me some abs you have so much knowledge in this arena I am so grateful to have found your awesome website thanks for sharing your passion keep up your great ork

    1. That is super Brian. I am so glad if I can help you with your fitness goals. I hope you check back as I will be posting more.
      Let me know if you have any questions. I love to help with fitness goals.

  8. Hi Cynthia
    This is such a great post. So informative.
    It has answered a lot of questions for me.
    It had never occurred to me that sleep – or lack of it- would have such an impact.
    Thank you, I loved reading this.
    Take care

    1. Thank You Jackie
      I am so glad if I answered questions for you regarding sleep and metabolism. This is so often overlooked.
      Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you with any fitness goals.

  9. Hi Cynthia 🙂 This is definitely an eye opener and I am very grateful to you for posting it. As a single mom of an Autistic child I know I don’t get enough sleep…maybe 5 – 6 hours/night, and that’s a good night. I have no trouble getting to sleep but finding enough hours in the day/night is another story. After reading your very informative article I will try harder to make time for a longer sleep. Thank you! I have bookmarked your site for further reference.

    1. Hi Dawn and thank you for reading ‘How sleep affects metabolism’. I am so pleased you found it helpful as sleep is very important. You sound like you have a very busy time taking care of your Autistic child so I do hope you can sleep a little longer each night. It will definitely help with your energy level. Please let me know if there is anything I can do or if you have any questions.

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