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