Local Researchers Make Link Between Night Shift Work & Diabetes

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you regularly worked the night shift, even if you’re retired now and keep a normal daytime schedule, you’re at higher risk of a common disease: diabetes.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh interviewed 1,000 retired night shift workers, classified them into 0 to 7 years, 8 to 14 years, 15 to 20 years, and more than 20 years.

“Our definition was any non-overtime work that fell within the midnight to 6 a.m. window,” says University of Pittsburgh’s Dr. Timothy Monk.

Both body mass index, or BMI, and diabetes rates were higher for night shift retirees compared to day workers.

Even when BMI was taken into account, the risk of diabetes was 1.4 to 2 times greater and there was no difference among the groups, suggesting that any time on night shift might be associated with a higher risk.

The way the body processes energy and uses the hormone insulin can be affected by sleep deprivation and disrupted circadian rhythms, which is your internal clock.

Just about everyone works the night shift at some point in their career, and many jobs are crucial in the overnight hours.

So eliminating night shift is impractical. But it could be made more sensible.

“In many cases, there are situations where it is not always vital that people work through the night. There are ways of having them, for example, work in the evening, or share the work, rather than have them do an overnight. Because there is a cost,” Monk says.

And just because you’ve worked a night shift doesn’t mean diabetes is a done deal.

“Even with this increased likelihood of getting diabetes, 75 percent of the retired shift workers did not get diabetes. So that gives us hope.” Monk said.

If you work night shift, you might want to pay attention to this risk.

Watch your diet, get regular exercise, and ask your doctor about testing your blood sugar at check-ups.

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Obesity: not a 'self image' problem – Greg Stevens – The Kernel

My recent article, You eat too much, elicited strong emotional reactions from many readers. The letters and comments still flooding in that express outrage and anger at the article follow two main themes I think are worth addressing.

The first is what I will call “special cases”. What about people who are on medication that cause weight gain? What about people who are injured in an accident? What about people who binge-eat in their sleep and don’t even realize it? Does it really make sense to blame them them for being overweight?

The people who point out these special circumstances are doubtless very well-intentioned. But I think the reflexive tendency to focus on these anecdotal stories is unhelpful.

Look at the numbers for a moment. Over 35 per cent of Americans are obese. Do you really believe that all, or even most, of these individuals fall into these “special case” scenarios? Are they all sleep-eating, or on special medications that cause weight gain? Is it not more likely that even when you factor out people with such “special circumstances”, there are still a large number of people left over who simply have bad habits?

I understand that the people who focus on special cases mean well, because they are trying to introduce nuance into the conversation. They are trying to say: “Don’t paint with a broad brush!”

But by chronically focusing on special case exceptions, rather than personal responsibility, these stories become the excuses that every obese person can latch on to. Every person then imagines him or herself as a “special case” and declares: “Why even bother? It’s out of my control!”

For most people, that is simply not the case.

The second theme is “I struggle with being pudgy”. Many people shared their own stories about growing up as pudgy kids, and always trying to eat right and exercise, and yet nothing seemed to help. These were sincere and emotional stories from people who have battled their entire lives to “lose that last 10-20 pounds”.

They were offended by statements in my article such as: “If you want to make a change, put down the ice cream scoop and pick up a gym membership. It really is that simple.” They wrote to tell me from their own experience: they know it isn’t “that simple”.

I completely understand the frustration that many people feel, battling their entire lives to get into better shape, and often never seeing the results that they want. Many people I know – perhaps most people I know – have lived their entire lives with the quiet desperation of not being completely satisfied with their physical self-image.

But let’s be clear: that is not what this article is about.

The article “You eat too much” is about obesity. Obesity is not “feeling a little fat”. It is not the pudgy little girl who can’t seem to lose that last 10 pounds. It is not the person who works out every day, and counts calories, and still just can’t fit into those 32-inch waist jeans.

There is a huge difference, both psychologically and literally, between someone who “can’t lose that last 10 pounds” and someone who is obese.

When talking about chronic dissatisfaction, seeing yourself as “slightly overweight”, then all of the complexities of issues like self-acceptance and cultural standards of beauty become very important. But that’s not the case with obesity.Obesity is not about self-image, and it is not about whether one can be both “round and sexy”.

It’s about being dangerously, medically overweight.

Perhaps this issue is so sensitive that no amount of clarity would be “clear enough” to prevent this misunderstanding. If that is the case, then that is part of the problem with our culture.

But if we allow people to conflate obesity with “being a little overweight”, then we will never be able to have a serious conversation that addresses obesity for what it is: a serious medical issue that requires changes in behaviour before and above all else.

NOW READ: You eat too much

Whole Health Source: Sleep and Genetic Obesity Risk

Evidence is steadily accumulating that insufficient sleep increases the risk of obesity and undermines fat loss efforts.  Short sleep duration is one of the most significant risk factors for obesity (1), and several potential mechanisms have been identified, including increased hunger, increased interest in calorie-dense highly palatable food, reduced drive to exercise, and alterations in hormones that influence appetite and body fatness.  Dan Pardi presented his research at AHS13 showing that sleep restriction reduces willpower to make healthy choices about food.

We also know that genetics has an outsized influence on obesity risk, accounting for about 70 percent of the variability in body fatness between people in affluent nations (2).  I have argued that “fat genes” don’t directly lead to obesity, but they do determine who is susceptible to a fattening environment and who isn’t (3).  I recently revisited a 2010 paper published in the journal Sleep by University of Washington researchers that supports this idea (4).


Dr. Nathaniel Watson and colleagues used twins to tease apart what proportion of obesity risk is due to genes vs. environment, and if sleep duration influences that relationship.  Consistent with other studies, genetics explained 60 percent of the variability in body fatness between participants.  Also consistent with other studies, people who slept less tended to be fatter.  However, what sets this study apart is that they determined how sleep duration influences the relationship between genetics and body fatness.

What they found is nothing short of remarkable.  In people sleeping less than 7 hours per night, genetics determined 70 percent of body fatness, while the environment (lifestyle/diet and ‘random’ effects) explained only 30 percent.  In people sleeping more than 9 hours per night, genetics only explained 32 percent of body fatness, while environment explained 68 percent.  In other words, in people who sleep more than 9 hours, the environment and not genes was the primary determinant of body fatness.

The result was summarized in the following graph:



According to the authors, short sleep duration appears to favor the expression of genetic risk factors for obesity:

Our work suggests latent genetic variability in susceptibility to obesity requires activation by sleep curtailment.

In other words, in an obesity-promoting (low-sleep) environment, people who are genetically susceptible to obesity gain fat, while in a non-obesity-promoting (high-sleep) environment, genetic risk factors are less relevant and don’t influence body fatness as much.  “Obesity genes” act primarily in an obesity-promoting environment.

As a whole, I find the sleep-obesity research quite compelling.  This is one of the reasons why the Ideal Weight Program focuses on improving sleep quantity and quality, a strategy that sets it apart from nearly every other fat loss program.  We combine a tracking system that provides consistent objective feedback on sleep habits, with sleep guidance that helps overcome barriers to restorative sleep.

Futurity.org – Obesity related deaths hit 1-in-5 Americans

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“Obesity has dramatically worse health consequences than some recent reports have led us to believe,” says first author Ryan Masters, who conducted the research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Society Scholar at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

“We expect that obesity will be responsible for an increasing share of deaths in the United States and perhaps even lead to declines in US life expectancy.”

While there have been signs that obesity is in decline for some groups of young people, rates continue to be near historic highs. For the bulk of children and adults who are already obese, the condition will likely persist, wreaking damage over the course of their lives. The study is published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

In older Americans, the rising toll of obesity is already evident. Masters and his colleagues documented its increasing effect on mortality in white men who died between the ages of 65 and 70 in the years 1986 to 2006. Grade one obesity (body mass index of 30 to less than 35) accounted for about 3.5 percent of deaths for those born between 1915 and 1919—a grouping known as a birth cohort. For those born 10 years later, it accounted for about 5 percent of deaths. Another 10 years later, it killed off upwards of 7 percent.

Straight from the Source

Read the original study

DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301379

When the obesity epidemic hit in the 1980s, it hit across all age groups, so older Americans have lived through it for a relatively short period of time. But younger age groups will be exposed to the full brunt for much longer periods.

“A 5-year-old growing up today is living in an environment where obesity is much more the norm than was the case for a 5-year-old a generation or two ago. Drink sizes are bigger, clothes are bigger, and greater numbers of a child’s peers are obese,” explains co-author Bruce Link, professor of epidemiology and sociomedical sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “And once someone is obese, it is very difficult to undo. So it stands to reason that we won’t see the worst of the epidemic until the current generation of children grows old.”

New way to look at a growing problem

This study is the first to account for differences in age, birth cohort, sex, and race in analyzing Americans’ risk for death from obesity.

“Past research in this area lumped together all Americans, but obesity prevalence and its effect on mortality differ substantially based on your race or ethnicity, how old you are, and when you were born,” says Masters. “It’s important for policy-makers to understand that different groups experience obesity in different ways.”

The researchers analyzed 19 waves of the National Health Interview Survey linked to individual mortality records in the National Death Index for the years 1986 to 2006, when the most recent data are available. They focused on ages 40 to 85 in order to exclude accidental deaths, homicides, and congenital conditions that are the leading causes of death for younger people.

The study builds on earlier research by Masters that found, contrary to conventional wisdom, that risk for death from obesity increases with age. The new study is also influenced by previous work by co-authors Eric Reither, associate professor at Utah State University, and Claire Yang, associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which showed significant cohort differences in US obesity rates.

Effects by sex and race

In the groups studied, black women had the highest risk of dying from obesity or being overweight at 27 percent, followed by White women at 21 percent. Obesity in black women is nearly twice that of white women. White men fared better at 15 percent, and the lowest risk for dying from being obese was 5 percent, for black men.

While white men and black men have similar rates of obesity, the effect of obesity on mortality is lower in black men because it is “crowded out” by other risk factors, from high rates of cigarette smoking to challenging socioeconomic conditions. There were insufficient data to make estimates for Asians, Hispanics, and other groups due to the highly stratified nature of the methodology.

In sum, by using a new, more rigorous approach, the new research shows that obesity is far more consequential than previously recognized, that the impact of the epidemic is only beginning to be felt, and that some population groups are affected much more powerfully than others.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the study.

Source: Columbia University

Type 2 Diabetes? Hypertension? Get Tested for Sleep Apnea!

If you suffer from Type 2 diabetes or hypertension, you should be evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by a physician who is board-certified in sleep medicine. This is a recommendation recently issued for the first time by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). This new guideline could have a significant impact on diagnostic procedures for tens of millions of adults in the United States. Type 2 diabetes and hypertension are all-too-common conditions among U.S. adults, and their numbers are rising alarmingly. More than 25 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and approximately 90-95 percent of these are cases of Type 2 diabetes. Hypertension — high blood pressure — affects a third of American adults, roughly 67 million people.

OSA frequently is found in people with Type 2 diabetes and with cardiovascular conditions, including hypertension. Estimates vary, but it is believed that approximately half of patients with high blood pressure also have OSA. The overlap may be even higher with Type 2 diabetes, with a majority of these patients also suffering from the sleep disorder.

There is an enormous body of research to suggest that people who suffer from OSA are at significantly increased risk for diabetes and hypertension, and vice versa. The relationships of OSA to diabetes and hypertension are complicated and appear to be multi-directional. All three conditions share risk factors, particularly obesity. In addition to exploring the consequences of shared risk factors, scientists are also investigating other biological connections between sleep apnea, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes. We don’t know all of the connections between these three health issues, but we do know that in the cases of both Type 2 diabetes and hypertension, the presence of OSA is extremely common and can complicate treatment if left unattended. OSA, like many sleep disorders, continues to be seriously under diagnosed. Those with undiagnosed sleep apnea are at particular risk for complications of diabetes and hypertension.

The Sleep Heart Health Study is a long-term, ongoing, population-based investigation of the health consequences of sleep-disordered breathing on cardiovascular health. This research has revealed a strong association between the disordered breathing that is a symptom of sleep apnea and hypertension. The results are striking, in particular because they indicate the risks of OSA to high blood pressure are not limited to traditional high-risk groups such as the obese, men and older adults. Instead, the study has found elevated risk for high blood pressure among middle-aged and older adults, men and women, people who are overweight and those who are normal weight. Other recent research has also demonstrated the relationship between OSA and high blood pressure:

  • The risk of hypertension appears to increase with the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine analyzed data on sleep and blood pressure for 709 adults over a four-year period. They found the risk of hypertension increased with the frequency of apnea episodes per hour of sleep. Those with 15 or more apnea episodes per hour were at three times the risk for hypertension as those without sleep apnea.
  • Severe OSA has also been strongly linked to resistant hypertension. Resistant hypertension is a form of high blood pressure that does not respond to medication. When a group of men and women with resistant hypertension were tested for obstructive sleep apnea, researchers found 83 percent had the sleep disorder.

Attempting to treat high blood pressure through medications or other therapies without also addressing the possible presence of OSA may undermine the success of treatment.

The same likely is true for Type 2 diabetes. Research has established links between obstructive sleep apnea and diabetes, which have been described as “interacting epidemics.” Studies indicate that OSA may disrupt normal glucose metabolism and increase insulin resistance, which is the underlying biological mechanism of Type 2 diabetes:

  • Researchers at the University of Chicago found the presence of OSA in patients with Type 2 diabetes was linked to a decline in glucose control. Compared to diabetes patients without obstructive sleep apnea, those with mild, moderate and severe sleep apnea demonstrated poorer glucose control. As severity of OSA increased, glucose control in these patients deteriorated significantly.
  • Obesity is an important risk factor for both obstructive sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes. But research indicates that a relationship between the two conditions may exist independent of obesity. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University found an association between insulin resistance and sleep apnea in a group of non-obese middle-aged men.

There’s some good news behind this AASM recommendation as well. In both hypertension and Type 2 diabetes patients with OSA, treatment for sleep apnea can not only improve the sleep disorder, but also help improve the other conditions as well. Research shows that effectively treating OSA can lead to improvements in hypertension and Type 2 diabetes:

  • Regular use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the most common treatment for OSA, appears to play a role in lowering glucose levels, according to new research from the University of Chicago’s Sleep, Metabolism and Health Center. Patients with both sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes who used CPAP continuously for one week lowered both their daily average glucose levels and their morning glucose levels. (Morning spikes in glucose levels are common among those with Type 2 diabetes.)
  • CPAP also can help reduce both nocturnal and daytime blood pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. A single night of CPAP use resulted in a reduction of nighttime systolic blood pressure, and 2 months of sustained CPAP lowered daytime systolic blood pressure as well. Other research has shown that 12 weeks of CPAP therapy resulted in lowered daily blood pressure values.

This recommendation by the AASM makes a great deal of sense, based on the abundance of evidence we have linking these conditions and the complications we know can arise when sleep apnea is left untreated. Now it is up to patients and doctors to follow through and make sure these evaluations take place, with qualified physicians. If you are one of the millions who suffer from either Type 2 diabetes or hypertension, your can improve your health and lower your risks if you are properly evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea.

Sweet Dreams,
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor®
The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep
Everything you do, you do better with a good night’s sleep™
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'Long napping during weekend prevents diabetes'

If you happen to be one of those who prefer staying asleep up till late on the weekend, you could be actually doing a great service to your health, suggests an Australian study.

The study found sleeping longer at the weekend can help those who burn the candle at both ends during the working week. Insulin in the body worked better after a weekend of lie-ns- especially for those lacking in sleep, Daily Mail reported.

Having insulin that keeps blood sugar levels under control is known to cut the odds of developing diabetes.

Specifically, getting up late on a Saturday and Sunday seems to cut the odds of type 2 diabetes, the form of diabetes that usually strikes in the middle age.

It is known to be linked to lack of sleep, as well as obesity, and carries with it a host of complications from strokes and heart attacks to blindness, kidney disease and nerve and circulatory damage, which can lead to amputations.

The Australian researchers said their findings could help improve the health of those struggling for enough sleep in an increasingly hectic world.

During their study, the results of which were presented at a major medical conference, researchers monitored 19 healthy young men who usually only had around six hours of shut eye on weeknights.

The researchers, from the University of Sydney, said the finding is particularly important in today’s fast-paced world.

“We all know that we need to get adequate sleep but that is often impossible because of work demands and busy lifestyles,” said researcher Peter Liu.

“Our study found that extending the hours of sleep can improve the body’s use of insulin, thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in adult men”.

Multitasking against obesity | Harvard Gazette

Five specialists in obesity came together at Cambridge’s Royal Sonesta Hotel on Friday for a forum called “Why Is Weight Loss So Hard?” The event was part of the four-day Blackburn Course in Obesity Medicine, sponsored by Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), during which experts from across the globe gathered to discuss one of America’s fastest-growing and most important health issues — the country’s increasing levels of obesity.

Complex causes

The panelists agreed on the complexity and interacting issues that underlie the crisis. Genetics and environment are just two of the many factors involved.

“The world is getting heavier,” said moderator-panelist Lee M. Kaplan, an associate professor at HMS and director of the MGH Weight Center, “and this is not a personal problem of slovenliness or laziness by the patient.”

Nadia Ahmad, former HMS instructor of medicine, now director of the Dubai Obesity Medicine Center, agreed: “There’s a lot of research to show obesity is actually a biological problem,” she said.

The causes and consequences of obesity are different in every case, Kaplan said. “Obesity isn’t the same disease in everybody. Our bodies have 20,000 genes and 4,000 are involved in weight regulation.”

W. Scott Butsch, an instructor of medicine at HMS and a doctor at MGH, and Caroline Apovian, an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, pointed to the roles of age and gender.

“As we get older our bodies change: We gain fat and lose muscle mass, which can impact health,” said Butsch.

Apovian moved from the physical — “men and women are very different about where they distribute weight” — to the psychological. Additional social pressure on women to be thin, she said, “can create psychological issues” as well as weight issues.

Environmental factors

Increases in obesity stem in part from “all the prescription medications that cause weight gain,” said Louis Aronne, clinical professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. In addition, today’s stressed person “sleeps an hour less today than 100 years ago.”

Ahmad said, “The obesity epidemic is absolutely environmentally driven,” pointing to “more processed food and people working longer hours.” Kaplan described all these factors as “a perfect storm” pushing obesity: “We work too hard; we play too little; we eat too much; our circadian rhythms are disrupted; there have been big changes in our food.” It all adds up to more weight.

Can we change our environment and lifestyle to reduce obesity? Lifestyle changes in isolation have little chance of fixing the problem, Ahmad said. “Just getting rid of sugar-sweetened beverages won’t work,” she said. We need to make better food choices, but also “reduce stress and promote more sleep,” she continued.

Kaplan agreed that there’s no “one-size fits all” remedy, but “we can decide what we eat and how much we exercise and the amount of sleep we get and how much stress we have.”

Weight management

Prescribing a weight-management program is maddeningly complex and highly individualized, said Aronne. “In some cases, it’s just trial and error.”

Diets don’t have a great track record, the panelists agreed. “No one diet has been shown to cause more weight loss than any other diet,” said Kaplan. Physicians and researchers have to do more to address the obesity epidemic, he said: “We need to do a lot more with research, with community-based care,” and other treatment options.

Ahmad was optimistic that more treatments are in the pipeline: “We’re going to have more drugs and treatments, but what you do in your lifestyle” is important too, she emphasized.



New Strategy to Reduce Teen Obesity: Sleep More! | Psych Central …

New Strategy to Reduce Teen Obesity: Sleep More!  Talk about a win-win deal: A new study suggests that sleeping an additional hour each night may reduce the prevalence of adolescent obesity.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that fewer hours of sleep is associated with greater increases in adolescent body mass index (BMI) for participants between 14 and 18-years-old.

Investigators say the findings suggest that increasing sleep duration to 10 hours per day, especially for those in the upper half of the BMI distribution, could help to reduce the prevalence of adolescent obesity.

Study results are available online in the latest issue of Pediatrics.

Previous studies have shown that a correlation exists between short sleep and obesity, but until now few have been able to rule out other variables such as time spent watching television and being physically active.

In the new study, researchers followed more than 1,000 Philadelphia-area high school students from their freshmen through senior high school years.

At six-month intervals, study participants were asked to report their sleep patterns. At the same intervals heights and weights were reported and BMIs were calculated.

Study authors suggest the results could have far-reaching implications and aid in reducing the high levels of adolescent obesity in the United States.

“The psychosocial and physical consequences of adolescent obesity are well-documented, yet the rate has more than tripled over the last four decades,” said lead author Jonathan A. Mitchell, Ph.D. “What we found in following these adolescents is that each additional hour of sleep was associated with a reduced BMI for all participants, but the reduction was greater for those with higher BMIs.

“The study is further evidence to support that getting more sleep each night has substantial health benefits during this crucial developmental period.”

Importantly, the relationship between sleep duration and BMI remained after adjusting for time spent in front of computer and television screens and being physically active.

This finding led to the conclusion that more sleep could contribute to the prevention of adolescent obesity, even if screen time and physical activity guidelines are met.

Based on the results, the authors suggest that increasing sleep from 8 to 10 hours per day at age 18 could result in a 4 percent reduction in the number of adolescents with a BMI above 25 kg/m2.

At the current population level, a 4 percent reduction would translate to roughly 500,000 fewer overweight adolescents.

“Educating adolescents on the benefits of sleep, and informing them of sleep hygiene practices have shown to have little impact on adolescent sleep duration,” said Mitchell.

“One possible solution could be for high schools to delay the start to the school day. Previous research has shown that delaying the start of the school day even by 30 minutes results in a 45-minute per day increase in sleep.

“Since our study shows increasing sleep by an hour or more could lead to a lower BMI, delaying the start of the school day could help to reduce obesity in adolescents.”

Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Teenager sleeping photo by shutterstock.

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Low melatonin levels tied to diabetes risk

Low levels of melatonin, a hormone regulating the sleep-wake cycle, may increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes in women, a new study has warned.

US researchers found that women who had low levels of melatonin at night had twice the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes over a 12-year period compared with women who had high melatonin levels.

The link between low melatonin levels and Type 2 diabetes held even after the researchers took into account other factors that could increase the risk of diabetes, such as age, weight, physical activity levels and sleep duration.

However, the study only found an association, and cannot prove that low melatonin levels cause Type 2 diabetes, website MyHealthNewsDaily reported.

The findings raise the question of whether increasing people’s melatonin levels, through supplements or prolonged exposure to darkness, could decrease diabetes risk, said study researcher Dr Ciaran McMullan, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The new study involved 370 women who developed Type 2 diabetes between 2000 and 2012 (but did not have the condition before the study’s start), and 370 women who didn’t develop diabetes.

Urine samples were collected in the morning as a way to measure melatonin levels produced overnight.

Factors that can lower melatonin levels include: sleep disturbances, short sleep duration, working the night shift and taking certain drugs, such as beta-blockers, said Dr John Forman, also of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The study included mostly white women, so it’s not clear if the results apply to men or to other ethnic groups, the researchers said.

… contd.



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More sleep can aid weight loss

Those who get enough sleep and don’t get stressed are apparently more likely to succeed in the battle against the bulge. The recent US study of 472 obese adults all aged over 30 showed that sufficient sleep and lower stress levels predicted greater weight loss.

The patients were recruited for the first part of a clinical trial by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and scientists quickly observed that “sleep time predicted success in the weight loss programme” and those who weren’t stressed also lost more weight.

More sleep and less stress could help to eliminate obesity

The weight-loss programme consisted of a series of weekly sessions with a nutritionist and behavioural counsellor. During each meeting the adults were asked to set food and exercise goals, and develop a weight-loss action plan. They reduced their daily calorie intake by 500, were asked to eat a healthy low-fat diet and do at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Each participant also kept a diary of their record daily food and drink intake and physical activity levels.

At the end of the study, participants lost an average of 6.3kg, with over half losing at least 4.5kg. The researchers found that people who slept between six and eight hours each night were more likely to lose weight than those who had less than six or more than eight hours of sleep. Stress levels were also found to affect the weight loss.

In the report, which was published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers stated: “These results suggest that early evaluation of sleep and stress levels in long-term weight management studies could potentially identify which participants might benefit from additional counselling.”

[adsense]Commenting on the research, Dr Ryan Mehta, Project Clinical Director and Senior Physician at Bupa UK, said: “The results of this study make sense, that not being stressed and getting a reasonable night’s sleep may help you lose weight. It’s an interesting study and confirms what we already know – if you have a good night’s sleep and low stress levels, you have fewer barriers for exercising and therefore are more likely to lose weight.

“However, it’s important to note that this study was only based on a very small number of people, most of whom were women, who were all keen to lose weight in the first place. Also, although the researchers excluded adults with certain health conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it’s possible that they had other health conditions that made it difficult for them to lose weight.“

A recent study of obesity in the US has revealed that the overall rate across the country had increased by 4% since a previous study in 2008. The worst culprit was West Virginia, where 33.5% of adults are now clinically obese – that’s one in every three people.

Also, click here to read about how milk consumption has been linked with weight loss.

Images: Wikimedia Commons