Getting more sleep each night can help you shed extra pounds, according to a new research study.
Why it matters: The research study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that increasing the number of hours you sleep can reduce your weight simply by cutting your calorie intake.
- Over three years, consistently getting more sleep could lead to the loss of 26 pounds, the researchers found, according to Bloomberg.
Details: The research team from the University of Chicago wanted to examine how sleep affects obesity.
- The research team selected 80 participants, ages 21-40, who averaged less than 6.5 hours of sleep per night. Each subject had a body mass index of 25 to 29.9. Body mass index is the calculation of weight in kilograms divided by height, and the range specified for the study is typically classified as overweight.
- The participants were randomly divided into two groups. The first maintained the same sleeping habits. The second group increased their sleep habits to 8.5 hours per night.
- Two weeks later, the second group with more sleep averaged 270 fewer calories than the first group.
- The results also varied from person to person. One participant increased calorie intake by nearly 500 calories, while another one’s decreased by more than 750 calories.
- The study did not attempt to restrict people’s diets. Participants slept in their own beds, tracked their sleep with wearable devices, and followed a regular lifestyle without any instructions on diet or exercise.
Plot twist: The study did not originally intend to look at weight loss but discovered it during the project, Esra Tasali, a co-author of the study, told Bloomberg.com.
- “Many people are working hard to find ways to decrease their caloric intake to lose weight,” she said. “Well, just by sleeping more, you may be able to reduce it substantially.”
The big picture: The study shows the importance of sleep in potentially changing health outcomes for obese populations, the USA Today reported.
- “Getting sufficient sleep could be a game-changer in our battle with obesity epidemic as a society,” Tasali told USA Today. ”Another important message is that something as simple as limiting electronics close to bedtime can help you get more sleep. Getting sufficient sleep is not important just for your brain functions but also for your body, for your metabolism and your weight.”