People may weigh less in the morning due to losing water throughout the night. That said, individuals do burn calories during the night. However, water weight loss is more significant than the loss of fat.

While people may not burn a lot of fat from sleep alone, sleep is important for weight loss.

For example, a 2018 study found that sleep disruption can slow fat loss and make it more difficult for a person to lose weight, especially when they are following a restricted-calorie diet.

Read on to learn more about losing weight while sleeping, including how it occurs and how sleep disruptions may impact weight loss.

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When individuals lose water as they sleep, they experience insensible water loss, which is a loss of water through physiological processes such as breathing, sweating, and excretion.

Health experts say that water loss from breathing and sweating alone can account for up to 83% of weight loss during sleep.

The amount of water that individuals lose during the night will vary because not everyone has the same metabolic rate.

Sleep disruption can affect many biological processes, including hunger.

One 2017 review reported that people who experienced altered sleeping patterns had generally larger appetites and consumed more calorie-dense meals than those who did not.

This finding suggests changing sleep times could have consequences on a person’s weight management.

A 2016 study found the body mass index of nursing professionals increased when they switched from day to night shifts.

Additionally, a lack of sleep can also increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, where a cluster of risk factors can occur simultaneously. When several of these risk factors occur, the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes increases.

These risk factors include:

  • excess fat around the abdominal area
  • low levels of high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol
  • high levels of triglycerides
  • high blood sugar
  • high blood pressure

To limit the occurrence of these risk factors, a person can try to maintain a moderate weight. It is also important that they get sufficient sleep and follow a nutritious diet to prevent the onset of more serious conditions such as heart disease.

When a person improves their sleep health, they are more likely to maintain a moderate weight.

For example, a 2021 study states that people with sleep apnoea lost more body weight and fat over a 12-month period when they experienced better sleep.

Researchers have also linked shorter sleeping intervals to hedonic eating. When a person is eating hedonically, they are eating more for pleasure. Over time, this behavior could result in more non-nutritious food choices and a higher calorie intake.

Conversely, when individuals sleep for longer, they are less likely to eat hedonically and crave non-nutritious pleasure foods.

Additionally, a 2021 study found hedonic hunger decreased in university students when they experienced better sleep quality. This suggests that people consume fewer calories after a good night’s sleep and make more nutritious food choices because they do not have the urge to consume food for pleasure.

Learn more about how to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep hygiene is a term that describes a healthy sleep routine.

There are several actions a person can take to improve their sleep hygiene, which include:

  • Introducing consistency: Going to bed at the same time each night prepares the body for sleep. Waking up at the same time each day means a person is tired enough to fall asleep when bedtime approaches. People should aim for 7–8 hours of sleep each day.
  • Creating a healthy sleep environment: A dark bedroom will help a person feel more ready for sleep. Try to turn off all TVs and computers before going to bed. People can also go to sleep quicker if they keep laptops or cell phones out of the bedroom.
  • Avoiding large meals before bedtime: A person is unlikely to feel tired when their body is digesting a substantial meal. Additionally, when people consume caffeinated drinks, they are more alert and awake. Therefore, they should avoid consuming these before bedtime.
  • Staying active: When a person is physically active during the day, they feel more tired, as their body is using more energy.

Learn more about good sleep hygiene.

If a person wishes to maintain a moderate weight, they need to eat and sleep well.

However, changing routines and building healthier habits can be challenging, and often people stick with some changes more than others.

Below are some ideas individuals can use to start making healthier lifestyle choices and habits.

Create a contract: Writing a weight loss goal down in the form of a contract can help a person understand why they wish to lose weight. For example, they may have a family history of heart disease. The contract can also include details on how they will lose weight, such as running twice a week or batch cooking nutritious meals at the weekend.

Keep a food diary: Tracking meals throughout the day will help a person better understand what they are eating, so they can make mindful choices, such as choosing frozen yogurt over ice cream.

Monitor progress: An individual can track their progress and health-related milestones. This does not have to be only weight-related and could also include achievements, such as running for 2 miles without feeling breathless.

Learn more about weight loss.

People do lose weight during sleep. However, this is mostly due to water loss through breathing and sweating.

While individuals do not burn much fat during sleep, sleep is a fundamental component of well-being, and a lack of it can make maintaining a moderate weight more difficult.

Sleeping well complements weight loss because people may notice their cravings for non-nutritious foods are weaker when they experience better quality sleep.

If a person wants to sleep better, they can improve their sleep hygiene. For example, they can turn off all electronic devices in the bedroom and go to bed at consistent times.