Is losing weight in your sleep real?

Losing weight in your sleep might sound too good to be true, but there are numerous studies that show the link to poor quality sleep and increase appetite. Our resident sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo shares all.

Sleep: it’s free. And we all want more of it, so why is it so hard to get? Specifically – that consistent, restorative, uninterrupted, eight-hours-a-night kinda sleep. Which is why we’ve enlisted Sydney-based sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo to solve our myriad of sleep concerns with our new editorial series Sleep Well Wednesdays. Check back each week and you’ll be off to the land of nod before you know it.

What if I told you a recent study found fat loss was 55 percent higher for those sleeping 8.5 hours rather than 5.5? Would you believe me?

What if I told you that the participants were the same people – as in, first they slept 8.5 hours for a few weeks, then they slept 5.5? So the differences couldn’t be because of individual variation between the groups?

Sounds too good to be true right? Today on Sleep Well Wednesdays, I’m going to share the how and why of this secret to your weight loss success – because after all, we’ve been isolating, drinking too much alcohol and summer is coming.

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Reason 1: Hunger hormones increase

Grehlin, a key hormone to drive your hunger, has been shown in a clinical trial to increase by 28 percent after two nights of insufficient sleep.

Consequence: you’re unusually hungry.

Reason 2: Satiety hormones decrease

Leptin, the hormone to signal to your brain that you’ve eaten enough, decreases by 18 percent, again after two nights of inadequate sleep, as noted in the same study.

Consequence: you don’t feel full when you do eat.

Reason 3: Appetite increases

Research shows a deficiency in both hormones increases appetite overall by 23 percent.

Consequence: you need to fill your plate with extra food – and go back for seconds.

Reason 4: Cravings for carbs increases by 45 percent

Now this – this is the killer. The evidence also shows you’re more hungry, can’t satisfy yourself AND you crave sugar.

Consequence: the bread basket looks ever so appealing and you can’t keep your hands away.

Now… Don’t despair my wonderful B+S gals (and guys!). I’m not going to leave you in the lurch.

To get closer to 8.5 hours rather than 5.5, here’s what to do:

  1. Amend the 3 reasons you can’t fall asleep
  2. Follow my Signature 7 Step Bedtime Routine
  3. Eat refined sugar-free, sleep-friendly snacks

1, 2, 3: You’re sleeping well and shredding for summer while you do it.


Olivia Arezzolo is a sleep expert who holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology); Certificate of Sleep Psychology, Diploma of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine); Certificate of Fitness III + IV.