The amount and quality of sleep you’re not getting may be to blame for stalled weight loss, according to Canadian researchers.
In a new study, published in the July issue of the journal Obesity Facts (1), researchers from Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, in Ottawa, Canada, found that sleep quality and quantity can predict the amount of weight lost in dieting adults.
What is the connection between lack of sleep and weight loss?
“Adequate sleep might influence the success of a weight loss intervention and perhaps sleep should be included as part of the lifestyle package that traditionally has focused on diet and exercise,” the researchers wrote.
In their analysis, 123 obese adults underwent a weight loss intervention for a period of 15 to 24 weeks. Researchers evaluated sleep quality and duration at both the beginning and end the study, as well as body fat mass. The dieters who reported obtaining more restful sleep and sleeping longer lost more weight than those who reported obtaining less restful sleep and sleeping fewer hours. After adjusting for age, sex, baseline BMI, and change in energy intake, the study found that every one hour increase in sleep was associated with a 0.7 kg loss in fat mass.
This latest study is just one of many in recent years that have pointed to a connection between sleep deprivation and obesity.
The prevalence of obesity among adults in the United States has more than doubled since 1980, corresponding with a simultaneous reduction in sleep quality and duration (2). Fewer Americans are getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep than previous generations, with 60 percent reporting experiencing regular disruptive sleep and 15 percent reporting sleeping fewer than six hours per night on average (3).
According to the researchers of this latest study, “Given that chronic sleep restriction is a common feature of our modern lifestyle, studies aimed at investigating the link between short sleep duration and obesity are relevant from a public health standpoint.”
Although the relationship between insufficient sleep and obesity continues to be investigated, several possible explanations have been proposed. A previous study citing an association between lack of sleep and binge eating in women (see “More Sleep May Mean Less Cravings”) explained that lack of restful sleep causes an increase in the release of appetite-stimulating hormones. Additional explanations are that less sleep leads to more time available to overeat, as well as reduces the amount of physical activity occurring due sleep deprivation.
Technology is also believed to be a major contributor to dysfunctional sleep patterns. According to the National Sleep Foundation, as many as 95 percent of Americans report using an electronic device within one hour of going to bed. The artificial light created by laptops, cell phones, televisions, and video games during the evening hours disrupts circadian rhythms by suppressing the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, according to Charles Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D., director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School (2).
Melatonin helps control sleep and wake cycles, being produced at high levels by the brain at night and dropping in the early morning hours. Light-emitting screens interfere with the release of melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep by increasing alertness and shifting circadian rhythms later.
When attempting to lose weight, strategies to improve sleep quality and duration may prove essential in achieving success. These may involve adopting a regular bedtime schedule and relaxing bed time routine as well as avoiding the use of bright electronic devices in the hour prior to bed.
Adding Isagenix Sleep Support & Renewal to evening regimens can also improve sleep quality. This fast-acting, spearmint-flavored spray features melatonin to help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep while improving sleep quality and increasing total sleep time. The just-launched product helps promote overall health, including weight management.
1. Chaput JP, Tremblay A. Sleeping Habits Predict the Magnitude of Fat Loss in Adults Exposed to Moderate Caloric Restriction. Obes Facts. 2012;5:561-6. DOI: 10.1159/000342054
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed August 7, 2012 at http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/obesity.htm
3. National Sleep Foundation. Accessed August 7, 2012 at http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/press-release/annual-sleep-america-poll-exploring-connections-communications-technology-use-