It is not uncommon to lose 3 pounds between when you weigh yourself before bed and when you weigh yourself in the morning. Typically, this weight loss is due to losing water weight. Other times, this fluctuation is caused simply because your bathroom scale isn’t that accurate. Sweating while you sleep, the natural amount of calories you burn while you’re resting, or changes in diet or medication can also contribute to this sudden, non-permanent overnight weight loss.
Is it OK to Lose 3 Pounds a Day?
If you wake up and find yourself 3 pounds lighter than the day before, it’s typically not a cause for concern. However, if your weight continues to drop at this rate for several days, it’s time to take action. Healthy weight loss is defined as losing no more than 1–2 pounds per week. If you’re dropping weight much faster than this for 1–2 weeks, consult your doctor to make sure you are healthy and following a safe diet.
- It is normal to “lose” 1–3 pounds overnight.
- Typically, this weight comes back as we eat and drink throughout the day.
- If your sudden weight loss continues for 1–2 weeks, consult a doctor.
- For more accurate weight readings, weigh yourself each morning before breakfast.
In the majority of cases, finding yourself 3 pounds lighter in the morning is completely normal. The average person loses 1–3 pounds overnight. To get accurate weight readings, it’s best to weigh yourself at the same time every morning, before your first meal. This will provide you with a steadier number, though occasional fluctuations will still occur.
Why Did You Lose 3 Pounds in a Day? [7 Reasons]
If you see an overnight drop in your body weight it may be cause for celebration or alarm, depending on your fitness goals. However, a 3-pound change in weight between nighttime and morning is typical. Here are the most common reasons your weight may have fluctuated overnight:
You Lost Water Weight
The most common reason for your weight to drop between evening and morning is due to lost water weight. Because you aren’t drinking water when you sleep, your body is not replacing the water weight it loses. If you urinate before bed, in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning you are getting rid of pounds of water weight. You may a pound of water each time you urinate, so losing 3 pounds overnight is not uncommon.
Your Scale is Not Precise
Most bathroom scales are not the most accurate measurement tools. Different factors, such as the slope of the floor, temperature in the room, and your foot placement on the scale can shift the reading slightly. Many scales can read your weight slightly differently each time you step on them. So, your weight dropping by a few pounds might just be because your bathroom scale is not a finely tuned scientific instrument.
You Lost Waste Weight
As we sleep, our digestive system continues to work. During the 8 hours of sleep, you’re not eating, but your body is processing food. If you defecate in the morning, you are simply losing solid weight. A nearly-empty digestive tract may be responsible for your overnight weight loss.
Nighttime Sweating Caused Your Weight Loss
Similar to other forms of water weight loss, nighttime sweating can reduce your weight by 1–3 pounds overnight. You may not notice nighttime sweating because the sweat may have evaporated by the time you wake up, but it’s possible you sweated out quite a bit of water. In addition to high nighttime temperatures, your sleep habits or any medications you’re taking may also increase your nighttime sweating, leading to overnight weight fluctuations.
Your Nighttime Metabolism is Responsible
Although you are not performing intense activity while you sleep, your metabolism continues to work. Calories are burned to keep your heart beating and lungs working. As you burn calories, you exhale carbon, dropping your weight. A single night’s sleep burns enough calories that it can decrease your weight by a couple of pounds.
You Had a Low-Sodium Meal
If you ate a low-salt meal—or switched to a low-sodium diet—your body will retain less water weight than if you ate foods with a lot of salt. This means you’ll be more likely to lose the water weight you do have. Changing the way you eat for even a day or two can trigger overnight weight changes.
Changes in Medication
If you recently started a new medication, switched medications, or stopped using a certain medication, your weight may shift overnight. This is because some medications trigger your body to retain water weight. Others may do the opposite and cause your body to stop storing as much water weight. Finally, some medications cause or increase nighttime sweating. Seemingly small changes can shift the results on your scale overnight.
Can a Person Lose 3 Pounds Overnight?
It is common to see a 3-pound reduction in weight overnight. It’s important to note that this does not necessarily signal true weight loss. The most common causes of this change in weight overnight are:
- You lost water weight through urination.
- Your scale may not give consistent, precise readings.
- You eliminated waste weight when using the restroom.
- Nighttime sweating contributed to overnight weight loss.
- You burned calories as your body maintained digestive, cardiovascular, and respiration processes overnight.
- Your diet recently contained less sodium, leading to reduced water retention.
- A change in medication caused a reduction in water retention or an increase in nighttime sweating.
Many times, it is a combination of several factors that create this seemingly miraculous weight loss. Eliminating waste water through urination, combined with burning calories while sleeping, a little nighttime sweating, and a low-salt meal can easily cause a 3-pound reduction in weight. Remember, this overnight weight loss is not a sign of fat loss. Track your weight daily by weighing yourself at the same time each morning. Only after several weeks of tracking will you be able to see if the weight loss is more permanent.