Sleeping and weight loss

Sleeping and weight loss? For years, dieters have been told that in order for them to lose weight, they need to count their calories, eat healthful foods, and exercise. More recent research, however, has found that getting a good night’s rest can actually help you shed those unwanted pounds. Today, sleeping and weight loss appear to go hand and hand.

Sleeping and Weight Loss Studies
Research gathered from numerous individual studies over the past few years has found a link between sleep and certain hormones that impact our eating behavior as well as our metabolism. In one study conducted on individuals between the ages of 30 and 60, Body Mass Index (BMI) levels were studied. It was found that study participants who only got three hours of sleep each night experienced a 5% increase in body weight, while participants who got 7 or more hours of sleep each night did not.

Most recently, researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin published results of a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that looked at how sleep affects not only weight loss, but also the affect on actual fat and muscle loss. The study was conducted on 10 overweight, middle-aged participants (both men and women). The participants were confined to a hospital-like setting where not only their sleep, but also their caloric intake would be closely observed. Participants were given a reduced diet of 90% less than what they would normally eat. There were two phases to the study. The first involved participants sleeping 8.5 hours each night, while the other only 5.5 hours per night. During both phases, participants lost weight; however it was noted that a greater proportion of body fat was lost when the participants were allowed to sleep more. It was concluded that approximately 3.1 pounds of body fat were lost in the first phase, compared to about 1.3 pounds in the second phase. The implications of this study suggest that individuals who are sleep-deprived when dieting will lose lean body mass rather than the fat that they are really seeking to lose. Now, because lean body mass is linked to how one’s metabolism works, this can make things harder to lose fat if you are sleep-deprived.

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