Does losing sleep really affect fat loss?
A new study (1) found trying to lose weight when sleep deprived results in much less fat loss, even if you get "catch up" sleep on the weekends. 😴
The findings were significant. Participants slept 1 hour less than normal during the week then caught up with an additional hour of sleep each day on the weekends. This is a common schedule with many working Americans. It's not a huge amount of sleep lost, but this mild sleep deprivation led to the following:
🔹 Participants doing just the diet (not sleep deprived) lost about 5.4 pounds of body fat and 1.2 pounds of lean mass for a total 6.6 lbs of weight lost.
🔹 Participants doing the diet while also cutting 1 hour of sleep per weeknight lost the same 6.6 pounds of weight, BUT only 1.1 pounds was fat! This means they lost 5.5 lbs of their precious muscle and had minimal actual fat lost.
Remember that muscle gives us that "toned" look most desire and keeps us much healthier as we age. Plus it keeps our metabolism healthier, promotes strong exercise, and even allows us to eat more and stay the same weight! :-D
I sometimes use the terms "weight loss" and "fat loss" interchangeably, but what most people desire is fat loss. This is why I always say the scale doesn't really matter if you're still losing fat (inches, pants are looser, etc).
➡ So if you're looking to get leaner and struggling, definitely review your sleep. I consider sleep so important that I look for a consistent 7 hours per night minimum from all my clients and have them track it religiously as part of an overall habit improvement strategy.