Prioritize Your Sleep for Your Fat Loss Goals by Best Personal Trainer in Dubai Abhinav Malhotra - AbhiFit Personal Training UAE

Prioritize Your Sleep for Your Fat Loss Goals

Sleep plays a crucial role in weight loss and overall health. While it may not directly burn calories like exercise, adequate sleep positively impacts various physiological and psychological factors that can aid in weight loss. In this article, we discuss the ways in which sleep can help with weight loss.

Hormonal Regulation

Sleep helps regulate the hormones responsible for hunger and appetite control, such as ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin signals fullness and satiety.


Ghrelin is a hormone produced primarily by the stomach and found in small amounts in other tissues, including the brain. It is often referred to as the “hunger hormone” because of its role in stimulating appetite and regulating food intake. Ghrelin levels increase before meals and decrease after eating.

The main functions of ghrelin include:

  • Appetite stimulation: Ghrelin acts on the hypothalamus in the brain, triggering feelings of hunger and prompting us to seek out food. When ghrelin levels are high, we tend to feel hungry and more motivated to eat.
  • Energy balance: Ghrelin plays a role in the body’s energy balance and metabolism. It influences how the body uses and stores energy from food.
  • Meal initiation: Ghrelin helps initiate the process of eating by signaling the brain that it’s time to start a meal.
  • Influence on body weight: Ghrelin levels are affected by factors such as meal timing, sleep patterns, and stress. Changes in ghrelin levels can influence body weight and body fat composition.

Ghrelin interacts with other hormones involved in appetite regulation, such as leptin, which acts as an appetite suppressant. These hormones work together to help the body maintain a balance between energy intake (eating) and energy expenditure (physical activity and metabolism).


Leptin is a hormone produced primarily by fat cells (adipocytes) and plays a key role in regulating body weight and energy balance. It is often referred to as the “satiety hormone” or “fullness hormone” because it helps control appetite and signals the brain when the body has had enough to eat.

The main functions of leptin include:

  • Appetite suppression: Leptin acts on the hypothalamus in the brain to reduce appetite and food intake. When leptin levels are high, it signals to the brain that the body has enough energy stored in fat cells, and it’s time to stop eating.
  • Energy expenditure: Leptin also influences energy expenditure by promoting the burning of calories and regulating metabolism. When leptin levels are high, the body tends to burn more calories.
  • Fat storage regulation: Leptin helps regulate the amount of fat stored in the body by influencing the balance between energy intake and energy expenditure.

Leptin levels are directly related to the amount of body fat. As fat cells increase in size, they release more leptin into the bloodstream. The rise in leptin levels then signals the brain to reduce appetite and increase energy expenditure, leading to weight loss or maintenance.

However, in some cases of obesity, a condition called “leptin resistance” can occur. Leptin resistance means that even with high levels of leptin circulating in the blood, the brain doesn’t respond adequately to its appetite-suppressing signals. This can lead to overeating and difficulty in losing weight.

Thus, these hormones work together in a complex system to maintain energy balance and body weight and play a crucial role in appetite regulation and weight management. Sleep has a significant impact on the levels of both ghrelin and leptin.

How Sleep affects Ghrelin and Leptin

Ghrelin: Lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep tends to increase ghrelin levels. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more ghrelin, leading to an increase in appetite and hunger. This can result in a higher likelihood of overeating or consuming more calories than you need, which can contribute to weight gain and difficulties in weight loss.

Leptin: Conversely, sleep deprivation can reduce leptin levels. When you are sleep-deprived, your body produces less leptin, which can lead to decreased feelings of fullness and reduced appetite suppression. As a result, you may find it harder to resist cravings and control your food intake, potentially leading to overeating and weight gain.

The combination of increased ghrelin and decreased leptin levels due to insufficient sleep creates an unfavourable environment for weight management. It can lead to an increased desire for calorie-dense and unhealthy foods, making it challenging to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.


Metabolism refers to all the chemical processes that occur within an organism to maintain life. In the context of human biology, metabolism specifically refers to the set of biochemical reactions that take place within cells to convert food into energy, as well as the utilization of that energy for various bodily functions.

Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolic rate. Sleep deprivation can slow down your metabolic rate by up to 55% according to certain researchers, which means you will burn less calories through the day. When you get enough restful sleep, your body functions optimally, supporting a healthy metabolism. However, insufficient or poor-quality sleep can disrupt these processes, leading to changes in metabolism that may contribute to weight gain and metabolic disorders.

How Sleep affects Metabolism

  • Energy expenditure: During sleep, the body still requires energy for essential functions like breathing, maintaining body temperature, and repairing tissues. This is known as Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) or Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Adequate sleep helps ensure that the body efficiently uses and distributes energy during rest, which can contribute to overall energy balance.
  • Hormonal regulation: Sleep plays a critical role in regulating hormones that influence metabolism, appetite, and weight. As mentioned earlier, lack of sleep can lead to higher levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and reduced levels of leptin, the satiety hormone. These hormonal changes can increase appetite, promote overeating, and make it difficult to manage weight.
  • Insulin sensitivity: Sleep deprivation has been linked to reduced insulin sensitivity, which means the body is less efficient at using insulin to control blood sugar levels. This can lead to increased insulin resistance, potentially contributing to weight gain and the development of type 2 diabetes.
  • Fat storage: Poor sleep can alter the way the body stores fat. It may lead to a preference for storing fat around the abdominal area, which is associated with an increased risk of metabolic disorders.
  • Cortisol levels: Sleep deprivation can elevate cortisol levels, a stress hormone. Increased cortisol levels can contribute to insulin resistance, metabolic imbalances, and increased fat storage.
  • Physical activity: Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue and reduced motivation for physical activity. Regular exercise is an essential component of a healthy metabolism, and sleep deprivation may hinder your ability to engage in physical activities that support weight management.
  • Gut microbiome: Emerging research suggests that sleep may influence the gut microbiome, the collection of microorganisms residing in our digestive system. A balanced and healthy gut microbiome is linked to improved metabolic health.

Energy and Motivation

When you are sleep-deprived, you are more likely to feel fatigued and lack the energy and motivation to engage in physical activity. Regular exercise is a crucial component of weight loss, and adequate sleep can support your energy levels and commitment to an active lifestyle.

Stress Management

Lack of sleep can contribute to increased stress levels, which can trigger emotional eating or unhealthy coping mechanisms. Managing stress through sufficient sleep can reduce the likelihood of turning to comfort foods as a response to stress.

Muscle Recovery and Preservation

During sleep, your body repairs and rebuilds tissues, including muscle tissue. When you engage in exercise or physical activity to support weight loss, getting enough sleep ensures that your muscles recover effectively and that you maintain muscle mass, which is essential for sustaining weight loss in the long term.

Reduced Late-Night Snacking & Overall Eating

People who stay up late are more prone to late-night snacking, especially on unhealthy, high-calorie foods. Also, the more time you’re awake the more meals you’ll have. By going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting enough sleep, you reduce the opportunity for these late-night eating and overeating habits that can interfere with weight loss goals.


Overall, quality sleep is a critical aspect of a healthy lifestyle and can contribute to weight loss efforts. It is generally recommended to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and try to establish consistent sleep patterns to optimize hormonal processes and support your weight management efforts to support optimal physical and mental well-being.

However, it’s important to note that sleep is just one factor in the complex equation of weight loss, and a balanced approach that includes a healthy diet and regular physical activity is essential for achieving sustainable weight loss.

Please contact me Abhinav Malhotra to learn what I and my team AbhiFit can do for you through personal training and nutrition services. We train kids, teens, adults, elders, athletes and models in Dubai and online across the UAE and around the world. We help our clients achieve their fat loss, weight loss, muscle gain, strength gain, rehab, figure / physique transformation & healthy living goals.

Many female and male clients including kids, teens, adults and elderly people have greatly benefited from Abhinav’s strong experience as the best personal trainer and nutritionist in Dubai, UAE. You can see some of our client transformations here here.

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About Author

Abhinav Malhotra

Abhinav Malhotra is an award-winning personal trainer, coach and sports nutritionist in Dubai, UAE. He also offers online services to clients around the world. A personal trainer par excellence, Abhi has worked with the world’s leading fitness chains, supplement brands and founded his own fitness academy in India. He has achieved successes for many clients from all backgrounds and has trained the Indian Army Rugby Team. He is the first International Kettlebell Sport athlete from India.

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