Experts have some new weight-loss advice that’s sure to be welcome news: Sleep can be just as important to a successful diet as healthful eating and exercise.
“Chronic sleep restriction is pervasive in modern societies, and there is robust evidence supporting the role of reduced sleep as contributing to the current obesity epidemic,” write a pair of obesity experts in the new edition of the Canadian Medical Assn. Journal.
That evidence includes findings that overtired brains prompt people to eat more, and that some hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism don’t work properly in people who don’t get enough sleep.
The authors of the CMAJ commentary cite an experiment reported in Annals of Internal Medicine in 2010. Two groups of overweight adults were put on a diet that forced them to cut 680 calories per day. In addition, one group slept for 8.5 hours per night and the other slept only 5.5 hours per night. After two weeks, study volunteers in the sleep-deprived group had lost 55% less body fat than their well-rested counterparts. They had also lost 60% more lean body mass. The researchers concluded that when the body is tired, holding on to fat becomes a priority.