Healthy living

A good night's sleep can help with weight loss

A good night s sleep can help with weight loss 6 to 8 hours and low stress levels are ideal

A good night's sleep and handling your stress levels can help you to lose weight, a study has found.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, found that people trying to lose at least 10lb were more likely to reach their target if they had a moderate amount of sleep and lower stress levels.

Nearly 500 obese adults took part in the study which looked at whether sleep, stress, depression, television viewing, and computer screen time were linked with weight loss.

They were advised to cut their calorie intake by 500 calories per day, increase their physical activity to at least three hours a week, keep a daily food record and attend weekly meetings where they were weighed.

Participants were also asked to report levels of insomnia, stress and depression, and to record how much time they slept and spent watching television or using a computer.

The researchers found that people who got between six hours and eight hours of sleep a night, and who had lowest stress levels, were most likely to lose at least 10 pounds.

In fact, three-quarters of this group were twice as likely to be successful as those who reported the highest stress levels and got six or fewer hours of sleep per night.

Sleep and stress levels were good predictors of weight loss, but depression and screen time were not, the study found.

People with the lowest stress levels who also got more than six hours, but not more than eight hours of sleep, were most likely to lose at least 10 pounds. In fact, nearly three-quarters of this group moved on to the second phase of the trial, and were twice as likely to be successful as those who reported the highest stress levels and got six or fewer hours of sleep per night.

"This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress," said study leader Dr Charles Elder, at the Kaiser Permanente Centre for Health Research in Portland.

"Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep.

For some people, mind/body techniques such as meditation also might be helpful," he added.

This article was published on Thu 31 March 2011



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