Diet and exercise have always been at the top of the priority list for fat loss, whereas poor sleep is always neglected. If you want to know how to lose belly fat overnight while sleeping, ensure you get 7-8 hours of sleep.


  • A recent study found not sleeping makes you gain weight.
  • Sleeping less resulted in an 8% increase in subcutaneous body fat and an 11% increase in visceral fat.

  • The participants exposed to sleep loss consumed about 300 more calories daily.


We have always prioritized diet and exercise for fat loss, but neglected poor sleep. To lose belly fat overnight while sleeping, make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep. Athletes are recommended to get 8 hours of sleep per night, but many do not get enough sleep.

A survey of 189 college athletes found that 68 percent reported poor sleep quality, 87 percent getting less than or equal to eight hours of sleep a night, and 43 percent getting less than seven hours. (Brauer et al., 2019) Sleep is no longer just a luxury that can be put off for later. Still, the scientific community recognizes that sleep is critical for an athlete’s well-being and performance.


Current research suggests chronic sleep loss can lead to obesity and early death. (St-Onge et al., 2016; Yin et al., 2017) In epidemiological studies, sleeping less than 7 hours per night is associated with greater body weight and body mass index. (Cooper et al., 2018)

Numerous studies in the scientific literature suggest that sleep deprivation has metabolic effects that predispose a person to weight gain. Those with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea have insulin resistance and cardiometabolic disturbances that can contribute to early death. (Romero-Corral et al., 2010)

Much of sleep’s value may lie in its role in recovery from training and competition, an important factor determining performance. Current evidence suggests that athletes who get more sleep are associated with improved performance and competitive success. (Watson, 2017)

Collectively these data suggest that recovery from an intense training session is compromised when followed by a single night of partial sleep deprivation and that a night of normal sleep facilitates near-full recovery in

maximal performance capacity. (Rae et al., 2017) Sleep loss has been found to reduce gains in muscle size and protein synthesis and result in a catabolic state. Getting a good night’s sleep can be referred to as anabolic sleep.


The relationship between sleep and metabolism has shown that sleep loss can reduce your ability to burn fat and burn calories. (Hart et al., 2015; Sharma & Kavuru, 2010) Previous research has reported alternation in hormones that regulate appetite control and satiety, as indicated by sleep loss increasing circulating levels of hunger hormones (i.e., increases appetite) such as ghrelin and endogenous cannabinoids and reduced levels of the satiety hormone leptin.(Hanlon et al., 2016; Spiegel et al., 2004)


Many have asked about the weight loss/sleep connection. Does sleep help you lose weight, or is this overblown hype for buying a new mattress? Research has now proved a definitive link between sleep and weight loss. It’s every person’s dream to be able to lose weight while sleeping, but this is what happens.

A new study showed that 21 days of sleep loss can increase body fat in non-obese women and men aged 19-39. The study had the subjects live in a research center for 21 days on two occasions.

During the first phase, they were allowed to sleep normally for 14 days. During the second phase, they were restricted to 4 hours of sleep per night. The researchers measured the subjects’ food intake and abdominal fat using computerized tomography.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that the subjects had increased their appetite and abdominal fat, including subcutaneous and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat directly below the skin, while visceral fat is the fat around the organs. Visceral fat is associated with negative health consequences such as insulin resistance and inflammation.


Check out the graph below and look at calories and abdominal body fat.

sleep and weight loss anabolic sleep how does bad sleep affect your metabolism lose weight while sleeping weight loss sleep does sleep help you lose weight not sleepnig makes you fatter


Sleeping less resulted in an 8% increase in subcutaneous body fat and an 11% increase in visceral fat. In contrast, normal sleep resulted in a 4% increase in subcutaneous body fat and no change in visceral fat. Keep in mind this all took place in 14 days of not sleeping well!

This study shows a direct relationship between poor sleep habits and belly fat increases. Another shocking finding was that when the participants who were sleeping less, ate about 300 more calories daily.

The participants tended to consume more food with higher fat and protein compared to days that they got adequate sleep. Other studies have found that sleep loss results in more consumption of more fat and protein. (Nedeltcheva et al., 2008; Spaeth et al., 2013) This suggests that the increased weight gain from sleep deprivation is driven by increased food intake.

The study did not find any differences in muscle mass, but these subjects were not involved in a resistance exercise program. Good sleep hygiene habits should include the following:

  •       Sleeping in a dark environment (i.e., use a sleep mask). Reduce bright light exposure such as cell phones, TVs, night lights, etc.
  •       Find habits to make you sleepy such as reading, drinking chamomile tea, sleep supplements such as melatonin, etc.
  •       Taking a warm bath or hot shower before sleeping


Brauer, A. A., Athey, A. B., Ross, M. J., & Grandner, M. A. (2019). Sleep and Health Among Collegiate Student-Athletes. Chest, 156(6), 1234-1245.

Cooper, C. B., Neufeld, E. V., Dolezal, B. A., & Martin, J. L. (2018). Sleep deprivation and obesity in adults: a brief narrative review. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med, 4(1), e000392.

Hanlon, E. C., Tasali, E., Leproult, R., Stuhr, K. L., Doncheck, E., de Wit, H., Hillard, C. J., & Van Cauter, E. (2016). Sleep Restriction Enhances the Daily Rhythm of Circulating Levels of Endocannabinoid 2-Arachidonoylglycerol. Sleep, 39(3), 653-664.

Hart, C. N., Carskadon, M. A., Demos, K. E., Van Reen, E., Sharkey, K. M., Raynor, H. A., Considine, R. V., Jones, R. N., & Wing, R. R. (2015). Acute Changes in Sleep Duration on Eating Behaviors and Appetite-Regulating Hormones in Overweight/Obese Adults. Behav Sleep Med, 13(5), 424-436.


Nedeltcheva, A. V., Kilkus, J. M., Imperial, J., Kasza, K., Schoeller, D. A., & Penev, P. D. (2008). Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(1), 126-133.

Rae, D. E., Chin, T., Dikgomo, K., Hill, L., McKune, A. J., Kohn, T. A., & Roden, L. C. (2017). One night of partial sleep deprivation impairs recovery from a single exercise training session. Eur J Appl Physiol, 117(4), 699-712.

Romero-Corral, A., Caples, S. M., Lopez-Jimenez, F., & Somers, V. K. (2010). Interactions between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea: implications for treatment. Chest, 137(3), 711-719.

Sharma, S., & Kavuru, M. (2010). Sleep and metabolism: an overview. Int J Endocrinol, 2010.

Spaeth, A. M., Dinges, D. F., & Goel, N. (2013). Effects of Experimental Sleep Restriction on Weight Gain, Caloric Intake, and Meal Timing in Healthy Adults. Sleep, 36(7), 981-990.


Spiegel, K., Leproult, R., L’Hermite-Balériaux, M., Copinschi, G., Penev, P. D., & Van Cauter, E. (2004). Leptin levels are dependent on sleep duration: relationships with sympathovagal balance, carbohydrate regulation, cortisol, and thyrotropin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 89(11), 5762-5771.

St-Onge, M.-P., Grandner, M. A., Brown, D., Conroy, M. B., Jean-Louis, G., Coons, M., & Bhatt, D. L. (2016). Sleep Duration and Quality: Impact on Lifestyle Behaviors and Cardiometabolic Health: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 134(18), e367-e386.

Watson, A. M. (2017). Sleep and Athletic Performance. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 16(6).

Yin, J., Jin, X., Shan, Z., Li, S., Huang, H., Li, P., Peng, X., Peng, Z., Yu, K., Bao, W., Yang, W., Chen, X., & Liu, L. (2017). Relationship of Sleep Duration With All‐Cause Mortality and Cardiovascular Events: A Systematic Review and Dose‐Response Meta‐Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Journal of the American Heart Association, 6(9), e005947.

About The Author

%d bloggers like this: