Obesity is an epidemic in this country, and it is more than just a health issue. Obesity has been linked to various conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and even cancer. One of the consequences of obesity is sleep disorders, leading to other medical conditions that are equally life-threatening. Understanding how obesity affects sleep will help you find ways to get better restful sleep at night.

Sleep And Obesity Are Interconnected:

Obesity has historically been considered a medical problem primarily related to one’s diet and exercise habits. While obesity is often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, other factors can contribute to weight gains, such as genetics and depression. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation contributes heavily to this vicious cycle. 

When someone doesn’t get enough sleep, it causes changes in metabolism, leading them toward more food consumption than they usually would consume while awake. This could be because lack of sleep affects appetite-regulating hormones or leads people who already had irregular sleeping patterns due to their stress levels. They find themselves feeling hungry when they should feel satisfied from eating less throughout the day. It’s crucial for those suffering from obesity problems not to neglect sleep as a potential problem and to realize that it may not be just about diet.

The first step is realizing you have a problem. There are many ways in which obesity affects sleep; the most cited is people sleeping less because their bodies can’t relax when they’re covered with fat cells or feel more pressure on their joints than before. This lack of good rest leads back to those changes in metabolism mentioned earlier, which also increases weight gain for these individuals. The cycle continues down until there’s no way out but to make some lifestyle changes if possible. If someone who has been obese for a long time chooses to lose weight- through exercise or eating right- this will lead them towards better sleep and a healthier weight.

It’s not just the physical health of a person who suffers from obesity and lack of sleep; their mental health also takes its toll. The most common side effects are anxiety or depression- which can be due to being more tired during the day because they’re carrying around extra weight on top of everything else. This turns into an unhealthy cycle as increased stress levels lead back to less sleep, less food intake leading to obesity again, and so on. For these people to break out, it usually means some form of therapy is necessary. Still, until then, there are things those with insomnia will want to keep in mind about how their body works before bedtime.

Related: How Depression Affects Sleep

The Different Causes Of Obesity

  • Obesity can be caused by a family history of obesity and genetics. Even if you come from a lean lineage, research has shown that we are more likely to become obese as our life progresses.
  • This is due to an excessive sugar intake, and large portion sizes at restaurants or home meals.-Excess calories lead to weight gain; the average American eats 500 extra calories per day than they need for their energy expenditure. Eating these high-calorie foods will result in weight gain over time which gradually causes sleep deprivation because it disrupts your metabolism patterns.
  • Some people have a slow metabolism which causes them to store more calories as fat, and these individuals are at the highest risk for obesity. 
  • Excess weight is also caused by an imbalance of physical activity levels in adults, leading to chronic diseases like high blood pressure or diabetes. This disrupts sleep patterns because it interferes with your circadian rhythm (the body’s natural 24-hour cycle) and the hormones that regulate your sleep and wakeful processes.
  • Insufficient activity levels lead to a reduction of serotonin which is needed for normal functioning during sleep. 
  • Obesity also causes muscle loss, reducing energy expenditure, leading to increased fat storage in the body and additional weight gain over time when it disrupts metabolism patterns. This cycle will worsen by disrupting your circadian rhythm (body’s natural 24-hour cycle) because it interferes with cortisol production, insulin secretion, glucose regulation, etc. These can result in problems such as depression or anxiety disorders if not addressed early enough.

How Does Obesity Affect Sleep?

Obesity is associated with a decreased quality of sleep. The primary cause for this lack of sleep quality is that obese people are more likely to develop conditions like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA affects an individual’s breathing patterns during their nighttime slumber, which leads to either shallow or deep breaths and snoring. These sleeping disturbances can lead to daytime drowsiness, headaches, stress on the heart, and increased blood pressure. Another important factor to consider is the type of mattress that someone has and how they sleep. Individuals who sleep on their stomachs will have a more challenging time breathing than if they slept on their back.

The quality of one’s sleep affects obesity because it can lead to more stress, which exacerbates weight gain. Likewise, eating unhealthy foods late at night before bedtime can increase fat content in the body, leading to lethargy during daytime hours when our bodies are supposed to be burning calories through activity instead of digesting food for energy storage purposes. 

Obesity also negatively impacts sleep by causing other health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Studies show that these conditions interrupt natural hormones that regulate sleep.

Insomnia is another common condition that is often associated with obesity. Those who are obese have a higher chance of experiencing sleep apnea, leading to insomnia because the sufferer’s brain does not receive enough oxygen during nighttime hours while they breathe from their upper airway.

Restless Leg Syndrome is another possible cause of sleep apnea. This condition causes discomfort and abnormal sensations in the legs, often leading to a feeling that one needs to move their limbs around.

The quality of one’s sleep is also impacted by obesity because it alters how they feel during nighttime hours. For instance, those who are obese may experience less REM (rapid eye movement) or deep sleep cycles than someone who has a healthy weight range for their height.

What can you do to Sleep Better?

Obesity is a growing problem in the world. It affects sleep because it causes stress and anxiety, which can lead to insomnia. The good news is that you can take steps to improve your sleep by losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. Here’s how you can get a better sleep when dealing with obesity:

  • Avoid stress: Stress can lead to increased cortisol levels, which will cause restless sleep patterns and other problems that affect your ability to get a good night’s rest. Reduce the amount of stress in your life so you’ll be better prepared for bedtime. You may also want to practice meditation or relaxation techniques before going to bed each evening.
  • Make time for physical activity during the day : even if it is just a short walk around the block at lunchtime or taking the stairs instead of an elevator daily–to promote healthier weight and quality sleep later on at night. 
  • Keep healthy habits by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day (at least five servings) as well as limiting high-calorie foods like refined flour, sugar, and beverages like soda or alcohol. 
  • Eat smaller amounts of food throughout the day by eating every three to four hours instead of skipping meals and overeating at night. Avoid long periods without any food intake as this can lead to a higher blood glucose level that could make sleep difficult.
  • Try substituting water for sugary fruit juices and sodas; avoid carbonated drinks such as lemonade, ginger ale, cola with caffeine (energy drinks), etcetera.- If you are trying to lose weight, do not go on an all-liquid diet because it will eventually slow down your metabolism–which may contribute to insomnia later on in life! This will also help reduce snoring if the extra fluid blocks airways.
  • Make sure that the last meal of the day is at least three hours before going to bed: this will give your digestive system enough time to process a high-fat meal without causing indigestion and gas–which could lead to irritability while trying to sleep!- Be careful not to overeat before bed. It can be challenging for your body to digest large meals, and you may have an increased heart rate, which can lead to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee in the evening if they interfere with your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep due – caffeine keeps you awake by blocking receptors in the brain that produce adenosine, one of our natural “sleep” chemicals. If it’s past bedtime and you need an energy boost, opt for a lower-caffeine drink like green tea.
  • Exercise often! It can be challenging to stay fit when your weight makes every task more challenging, but it’s important not to let fitness slip away as that may lead to chronic sleep deprivation over time. Sleep is essential for proper hormone balance–especially testosterone levels, which are critical in regulating our metabolism. Exercise helps us regulate those hormones naturally while also providing other health benefits such as stress relief; doing both will make the process easier on your body than either alone.
  • Make sure you get enough fiber during the day so that you don’t wake up feeling constipated or bloated at night (this should help you sleep better as well).
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and free from noise to help you fall asleep easier. This may be difficult because many people with obesity find that their bedrooms are too small or just not comfortable enough for them; if this is the case in your home, it might be worth investing in a hotel room once every couple of months so that you can get some uninterrupted sleep at night on more than one occasion!
  • Try going to bed earlier and getting up later: staying up late will only lead to problems over time since our circadian rhythm needs regularity (according to the National Sleep Foundation), and sleeping longer won’t solve anything when we’re meant to sleep about eight hours each night.
  • Get rid of any late evening TV shows or movies on your schedule since they are likely going to distract you from being able to fall asleep quickly (and because these media often contain some sound that will keep you up).
  • If there is a need for light in the bedroom during the night while sleeping periods, try installing dimmer switches so as not to disrupt your circadian rhythm with too much light; this also applies if one has trouble falling asleep due to pain–gently turn down the lights until it becomes more comfortable!

Also Read: How Sleep Hygiene Affects Sleep

FAQs related to How Obesity Affects Sleep:

Will losing weight help me sleep better?

Maintaining a healthy weight will help you sleep better. Losing excess pounds can significantly improve your sleep quality if it reduces chronic pain or discomfort related to obesity-related conditions like arthritis and back problems.

How many hours of sleep do obese people need?

Current research shows that people who are obese may need to sleep more than seven hours per night (compared with an average of six-and-a-half hours for those who maintain a healthy weight) to feel rested.


In conclusion, these studies suggest that obesity can lead to sleep deprivation and other health problems. Obese people need to maintain good body weight to have better quality sleep. The best way for an individual who has excess pounds on their frame to lose fat quickly and efficiently is by following the ketogenic diet. This type of plan encourages low carb intake, which will help the person’s metabolism speed up and burn more calories than regular diets would allow for. To combat obesity and get a good night’s rest, try these tips for better sleep.

Also Try our Sleep Calculator to know your Sleep better