How Sleep Impacts Your Weight and Overall Fitness

Obesity rates have nearly doubled since the 1960s and more than one-third of adults are now classified as obese. The overall health and fitness of our country is a real issue, but fortunately measures are being taken to help us live healthier lives.

When considering how to improve fitness, many first think only of nutrition and exercise. While those are important, if you take a day off from exercise or a day off from a nutritious diet, you’ll probably be alright. On the other hand, taking a night off from sleep could be detrimental. Sleep plays a significant role in weight, recovery, performance and overall fitness. In fact, the three pillars of health are considered to be sleep, nutrition, exercise. Prioritizing sleep gives you the energy you need to feel like exercising and to make the right nutritional choices.

The Connection Between Sleep & Weight

Getting the ideal quantity and quality of sleep is important for overall health, but also helps us keep off extra weight.

A study conducted by Weill Cornell Medical College and the University of Bristol found that participants in the study who experienced weekday sleep debt were 72 percent more likely to be obese. A lead researcher on the study, Professor Shahrad Taheri, said, “As little as 30 minutes a day in sleep debts can have significant effects on obesity and insulin resistance.”

This issue isn’t true just for adults, but for children as well.  Research suggests that children have 58% increased risk in becoming overweight when they do not get enough sleep. Investigators believe this is because insufficient sleep results in lower energy levels coupled with a biological drive for high-calorie foods.

For example, two hormones the body creates that have a major influence on energy balance are leptin and ghrelin. Sleep deprived individuals have more ghrelin in the body than leptin. Ghrelin tells the body it needs more food. Leptin tells the body it has enough energy and does not need food. Therefore, simply by sleeping well, your body will naturally suppress the desire for unneeded food, which could lead to weight loss.

Sleep for Recovery and Performance

In addition to sleep supporting weight management, it also allows us to recover. During sleep our bodies create growth hormone. This is the hormone that helps our bodies repair muscles. Athletes in physically demanding sports require even more sleep to recover, but each of us needs adequate sleep for our bodies to recover and perform the next day.

In a recent video, Dr. Jeffrey Durmer, Chief Medical Officer at FusionHealth states, “Fitness is completely dependent on your body’s ability to recover and restore function. This is exactly what sleep does for you.”

Once you have a good night’s sleep, you’ll be more awake, alert and ready to take on the activities of the day – couple that with healthy eating and regular exercise and you’re well on your way to your ideal level of fitness.

How to Maintain Fitness & Health

  • Eat Nutritious Foods – Fueling your body with healthy and nutritious food, especially by replacing the highly processed foods with greens and garden vegetables, gives us the nutrients to thrive.
  • Exercise Regularly – Getting your heart rate up daily doing some form of exercise as well as workouts at least a few times a week keeps your body moving for a lifetime of performance.
  • Get Ideal Sleep – When you get the adequate quality and quantity of sleep, your body produces the hormones to help regulate weight, recover from the day and perform at your best.

Should you have any questions or like any assistance on your path to better sleep, contact the FusionHealth Participant Resource Center at or 1-877-615-7257.

Dr. Durmer

How Sleep Impacts Your Weight and Overall Fitness