Short Sleep and Obesity: Part 4

When you are tired are you more likely to skip your workout? Well research has demonstrated that exact correlation with short sleep and having reduced energy to engage in physical activity.1 There are many reasons we may not be getting enough sleep. One of those reasons is shift work, those working overnight while still keeping additional responsibilities during the day. There are decreased opportunities for physical activity and participation in sports due to shift work, and exercise may be more difficult when an individual is sleep deprived.2 An intervention that introduced regular exercise during the week among female nursing shift workers found that the subjects improved their sleep length.2 While exercise may be difficult to attain for shift workers, it may provide great benefit in improving sleep length and reducing the effects of short sleep.

I need my energy to keep up with this pup!

I need my energy to keep up with this pup!

Think about those all-nighters you may have pulled in college (I only did one of those) or those nights you stay up a bit too late watching a movie or reading a book (reading is my guilty pleasure). The next morning you are not likely going to feel like a spring chicken ready to run a marathon. Adequate sleep primes you for exercise to burn some extra calories.

Now you may ask about my sleep patterns and do I follow my own advice?

Most nights I get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep. I can tell you I wake up feeling the best with a little over 8 hours of sleep, but that doesn’t always happen. If I get less than 6 hours I feel it! One thing I have had to accept as an adult is that it is okay to go to bed before 10pm. It does not make you lame or not cool, it makes you productive and energetic the next day. In the evening you can catch me using my fingers counting out the hours and approximately what time I need to hit the pillow to get enough rest. I am also one of those people who would be described as a “morning person”. I am happy, productive, and creative so I can honestly say I love mornings. That being said… I am not a night owl. I crash or “hit a brick wall” shortly after 9pm and my brain is screaming GO TO BED!

What about you? What are your sleep habits? Does it change your workout plans?

For more on how sleep affects weight loss:

Part 1 – hormonal changes

Part 2 – blood sugar changes

Part 3 – increase in appetite



1. Theorell-Haglow J, Berglund L, Janson C, Lindberg E. Sleep duration and central obesity in women – Difference between short sleepers and long sleepers. Sleep Medicine. 2012 (13):1079-1085. Available at:

2. Atkinson G, Fullick S, Gridney C, Maclaren D, and Waterhouse J. Exercise, Energy Balance, and the Shift Worker. Sports Medicine. 2009; 38(8): 671-685. Accessed via PubMed, PMCID: PMC2784228