Sleep & Movement



Getting enough sleep isn’t only important for your mental health; did you know that it also affects weight loss?


While we sleep, our bodies repair and detoxify. Sleep helps build muscle, it helps repair blood vessels, it supports growth and development, and it helps keep the immune system strong.

Sleep also affects our hormones, particularly insulin. Insulin controls our blood sugar levels; if we aren’t getting enough sleep, or enough restful sleep, this can lead to elevated blood sugar, which in turn can lead to diabetes and obesity. To maintain proper hormone balance, which controls everything from weight loss, to appetite to sex drive, we need deep, restful sleep.

Another way sleep causes weight gain is the resulting behavior from a lack of it. Think about this: you wake up after a poor night’s sleep; you’re too tired to make breakfast and can only manage some coffee. You stop by Starbucks to get a latte and pick up a breakfast sandwich. Maybe you grabbed your dinner leftovers from the night before, so you’re at least having a healthy lunch (hopefully). At 3pm you’re feeling like you’re about to fall asleep, so you either reach for another coffee, or get a sugary drink to perk you up. By the time dinner rolls around, the last thing you feel like doing is preparing dinner, so you order in. See what I mean?

Lack of sleep not only affects our immune system, our ability to repair on a cellular level and our hormones (which control weight loss), but lack of sleep sets us up to fail.

If you do drink coffee, have your last cup by 1pm. Aim to get around 8 hours of sleep per night, 10-6 or 11-7 is a good place to start. Make sure your room is comfy, dark, and free of distractions while you sleep. The next pillar of healthy is movement!

(Don’t worry, I’m definitely NOT going to tell you that you have to bust your ass in a gym to get the body you want).


Despite what many people say and what you’ve likely been told, you don’t need a gym membership to lose weight, but you do need to be active.

Many of us are mostly sedentary, sitting behind computers all day. This doesn’t mean you can’t still be active. Set a timer on your phone or computer every half hour, get up, stretch out your legs, take a small walk, do some lunges, just move! This is so important and really does make a difference.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the gym. Repetitive workouts can easily become really boring, so I’m a fan of getting my workouts from activities. Here are some ideas:

  • Go on a walk in your neighborhood
  • Go for a swim
  • Go kayaking
  • Do squats while you brush your teeth
  • Play Frisbee with your kids
  • Do a few sprints
  • Ride a bike
  • Take a day trip a lake, ocean or park


I know these things seem small, but they really do add up and make a difference.

The body composition is mainly reliant on what you eat. You can work your ass off in a gym, but if you’re eating Doritos all day, not much is going to change, and you’re still going to be extremely unhealthy.

On the other hand, if you’re eating a good diet and making sure to move around, get a walk in, play with your kids, go run around with your friends, you will be able to lose weight, and you’ll be able to do this on a long-term basis.

Stay tuned for the next two pillars of weight loss!


  1. I agree sleep is important but how do I get 8 hours?
    I fall asleep,no problem, but wake after 4-5 hours and cannot get back to sleep
    this has been happining every since i worked shift work,also may be age related?( im 57)
    i have not found any good answers yet, hope you have some fresh ideas

    • dani stout Reply

      Are you stressed? This often happens when people are stressed. Alcohol can hinder sleep as well. One things that’s helped me has been taking a tsp or so of raw honey when I wake up in the middle of the night.

      A few weeks ago I was waking up every single night, I kept honey and a spoon by my bed. It took a couple of nights for it to work, but now I don’t even have to use it anymore.

        • dani stout Reply

          One of the most common reasons people wake up during the night or are unable to sleep through the night is due to stress – emotional or physical stress caused by diet. If you’re not properly feeding your cells, this causes stress within the body and negatively affects circadian rhythm. The glucose from the honey sends a signal to stop the production of stress hormones, which allows you to quickly and easily fall back asleep.

  2. I definitely will try the honey. I have been through a few medical procedures and have at least one more and my sleep is sporadic., yet I nap at 3pm for 20 minutes and feel rejuvenated.

  3. Hi Dani,
    While am Sleeping am snorring but I don’t know that only my friends were telling that am snorring much will it affect in reducing my weight as am Obese.

    • dani stout Reply

      Yes, weight can affect snoring. Sleep apnea is also a possibility, you may want to check with your doctor.

  4. I am 60, but very active. I volunteer with a horse rescue and help care for 12 horses. Each day I muck stalls, empty muck buckets, carry hay bales, lug feed sacks, spread shavings, groom and ride on the weekends. However I sit at the computer all day, so my activities seem to keep me from gaining, but are not enough to help me lose. I do not have good eating habits. I used to walk every day at lunch with a partner, and that seemed to help as long as I was eating very little. I would like to eat more whole foods and stay away from processed, but I don’t know where to start. Ideas?

    • dani stout Reply

      Hi Michelle! The last pillar is all about diet – check that one out and then let me know if you have any q’s. It isn’t about eating less, it’s about eating right!

  5. p.s. if sleeping was an Olympic event, I would be a gold medalist – I sleep at least 8 hours every night

  6. Getting a solid 8 hours sleep seems so impossible for me. I work shift work and sometimes its not easy to get in my sleep. I fall asleep fairly easily but do toss and turn through the night. I have lost quite a bit of weight but still have about 40 lbs to go. I know my sleep pattern is not helping me at all. Do you have any suggestions. My room is dark and quiet. I have a cooling pillow which has helped out because i am not constantly turning my pillow to find the cool side. I am 49 years old. Thanks

    • dani stout Reply

      Shift work is tough so I definitely feel for you. I would recommend limiting your exposure to artificial light (computer, television, etc) after 5 or 6. You can install a program on your computer to do this, it’s called f.lux and you can also buy some light blocking glasses, I think they’re aobbut $7 on Amazon.

      I also recommend an essential oil blend called Serenity, by doTERRA. You apply it to the bottom of your feet at bedtime and it relaxes you and helps promote sleep. I also recommend magnesium lotion. You can read more about essential oils here:

  7. I have a 19 month little girl with night terrors and does not sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time. It has really affected me these last few months where it has gotten worse. 12, 2, 4, 5 this morning. We have tried the the baby sleep blend with vitiver we are trying serenity now and have tried lavender. The one with vitiver knocks me out cold just smelling it. Any tips for getting her to sleep better? we co-sleep btw.

    • dani stout Reply

      Are you applying the Serenity to the bottom of her feet? And what’s her diet like?

      • yes. I put it on her feet and a bit on her forehead as well as last night I diffused it. She is a very picky eater so she mostly eats the organic earths best pouches and milk. I usually get her to eat one meal during the day, sometimes she will eat the veg and others she wont. She loves yogurt and cheese, sometimes tomatoes (good ones) and broccoli. I too am a picky eater and kinda hate food so I am not the best example. I have a heightened sense of smell and taste so things that taste good to most (root veg) taste like the dirt that they are grown in. I try for at least a zucchini or a broccoli each day. And she is a vegetarian because she is not potty trained, as soon as she learns she will be allowed to eat meat. 90% of what we eat is organic. and the pouches that I get all have a veg in them like a sweet potato or carrot with their fruit.

        • dani stout Reply

          I do not recommend vegetarian diets for children, especially because their bodies have trouble digesting and absorbing the nutrients in vegetables. Is she still nursing? If she isn’t, and she isn’t eating meat, she could be lacking in protein, healthy fats and some vitamins. I recommend seeing a doctor and getting an allergy test done as well. Some children have poor reactions to dairy.

  8. How do you fix an extremely broken sleep schedule? I have been having sleeping problems since I was 12 years old. I am now 22, attending college, and have poor gastrointestinal health. I have not seen a doctor for long enough for anyone to be able to figure out what it is, mostly because most of what I’ve trialed hasn’t worked, or they say that all my symptoms are chronic and idiopathic, so there is no “disease” that they have found per say. I have been having these problems for a few years and they continually get worse, even though I am now eating a lot better (and have been for at least a year if not more, if counting just the time of refusing to eat out anymore, but also because doctors say I have high intolerances for certain foods and some general food groups). Before this I was health conscious since 16, but still did not follow a whole foods diet. I know all of this would take part in sleep. I also have high anxiety, and other related problems with anxiety, and two cats (lame, I know), that make a lot of noise and destruction when I sleep in my small apartment.

    • dani stout Reply

      I definitely recommend doTERRA’s Serenity blend. It’s for anxiety and sleep, I use it every night and it knocks me out. My fiancé also has trouble sleeping and it knocks him out too (and he’s 6’2 200 lbs!). Low sugar, no stimulants, and we definitely need to find a way to make sure your cats don’t disturb you. I have cats too, I know how negatively it affects my sleep when they wake me up. Do you by any chance have a two bedroom apartment? Maybe you could keep them in a spare bedroom.

      • Thanks I will have to try that! I also really have to fix my eating habits and what time I eat and all that (the gastrointestinal problems definitely don’t make sleeping any easier). I actually only have a one bedroom apartment and the the walls here are so thin, it’s a pretty tiny apartment. Any time I try to seclude them they find something to break or just make way too much noise. (Also one of them pees everywhere, especially with her “separation anxiety” she gets as the vet calls it). There’s also about half an inch of space under each door for some reason and I have carpet in the bedroom and closet, so even when I blockade the front of the doors they find some way to tear the carpet up through the door (obnoxious, I know).

  9. I take Celexa and Diovan. I don’t always sleep well. Can I use the Serenity Blend? I know some things interfere with medications.

    • dani stout Reply

      Yep! Of course, check with your doctor but there are no known interferences.

  10. Enjoyed reading about moving and sleeping. I have fibromyalgia and take Robaxin, Trazodone and Klonopin (restless leg) for sleep. Would be nice to replace these if I could with the Serenity blend. Please advise if you think this would work. I will ask my Dr also. My husband does not sleep well and has heart issues and Crohn’s disease. Maybe this would be good for him also. Do these oils interfere with medications when applied on the feet?

    • dani stout Reply

      The oils do not interfere with medications. You take Klonopin for RLS? I’ve seen firsthand how dangerous Klonopin can be. It is not a safe drug.

      Of course – consult your doctor. Diet and lifestyle changes will make a huge difference. I love the oils and have personally taken Klonopin and now find Serenity more effective and much safer. These types of drugs are actually unsafe to quit cold turkey – they’re literally like street drugs in that regard. You have to discuss it with your doctor but lifestyle changes along with the oils will likely make a huge difference. They did for me.

  11. Regina Dallin Reply

    Could you please tell me what Serenity Blend is? Also, how would I go about ridding my body of toxins? thank you

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