Obesity is one of the most common health problems in the world today. But how are obesity & sleep related? Kala Sleep looks behind the scenes in a study on sleep, hunger, obesity, and weight loss.
The links between sleep, diet, weight gain, and obesity are well established, and researchers are learning more every day. In the study we're focusing on today, researchers examined a very basic but important question: Does lack of sleep contribute to obesity? Since obesity is a serious contributing factor for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health issues that affect massive numbers of people worldwide, understanding how it works is vital.
In the study we're focusing on today, researchers examined a very basic but important question: Does lack of sleep contribute to obesity?
Who did they study?
10 adults considered overweight by the ratio of their height to weight, without other health issues.
What did they do?
Participants lived at the research center, so that their sleep could be monitored and their diet & exercise could be controlled. Their calorie intake was restricted to a level at which weight loss would occur. Researchers kept track of their weight; hunger levels; and hormones related to weight & appetite.
When participants slept 8.5 hours per night, they lost more body fat and less lean body mass (muscle). When they were restricted to only 5.5 hours of sleep per night, they lost less fat, more muscle, and reported feeling hungrier than when they were getting more sleep. Calorie intake, exercise, and all other factors stayed the same.
What were the limitations of the study?
The sample size was small (3 women and 7 men), all in the same age range (35-49 years), and the study followed them for 2 weeks, which is less time than people would usually spend on a weight loss program.
This study suggests that if you're attempting to lose weight, in addition to your diet & exercise regimen you should make sure you're getting adequate amounts of sleep (7-9 hours for adults). This will help you lose fat, retain lean muscle, and feel less hungry.
If you think you're not getting enough sleep, it's time to start looking for some strategies for better sleep that you can start immediately - no pills or fancy tech necessary.