Want to Lose Weight? Try Having a Good Sleep

Weight loss is usually linked to changes in diet and exercise. But if you really want to shed those pounds you should also consider altering your sleep patterns, a new study claims.

A good night's sleep for a good figure: researchers have found that you can double your chances of reaching your target weight if you get between six and eight hours sleep a night. Photo: Yonasu/Flickr

If you’re looking for a way, how to lose extra pounds, you should probably add reducing stress and getting the right amount of sleep to the list, say researchers from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research in Portland.

They have found that you can double your chances of reaching your target weight if you get between six and eight hours sleep a night.

If you have any more, you will become too inactive and if you have any less your stress levels will increase along with cravings for unhealthy food.

“We found that people who got more than six but less than eight hours of sleep, and who reported the lowest levels of stress, had the most success in a weight-loss program,” said study author Dr. Charles Elder.

The research in Portland, USA, by Kaiser Permanente, a health care consortium, found that people trying to lose at least 10lb were more likely to reach their goal if they had lower stress levels and slept moderately.

Nearly 472 obese adults with an average age of 55 took part in the study. They were asked to attend 22 counselling sessions, reduce their diet by 500 calories a day and increase the amount of exercise they took to at least three hours a week.

They also had to keep a diary of their habits, including their sleep patterns and stress levels. After 26-week period, 60 percent of the participants had lost at least 10lb.

Researchers found that the successful dieters were more likely to report that they had slept between six and eight hours each night.

The participants lost an average of almost 14 pounds. The 60 percent of the participants who lost at least 10 pounds went on to take part in the next phase of the trial. Those in the second phase of the trial continued their diet and exercise program.

They were also twice as likely to be successful as participants who reported the highest stress levels and got six or less hours sleep a night.

“This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress,” said lead author Dr Charles Elder.

“Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep. For some people, mindbody techniques such as meditation also might be helpful.”

The report, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is published in the March 29 online edition of the International Journal of Obesity.

Another study presented earlier this month at the American Heart Association scientific sessions held in Atlanta found that people of normal weight eat more when they sleep less.

Columbia University researchers discovered that sleep-deprived adults ate almost 300 calories more a day on average than those who got enough sleep. And the extra calories mostly came from saturated fat, which can spell trouble for waistlines. [via The Telegraph (UK) and US News]

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