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Is sleep the secret to better weight loss?

News | Adelaide Bariatric Centre

3 Sep 2013 9:51 AM

Midnight Snack

Could a comfy mattress be your unexpected new weapon for weight loss? New studies are showing that a good night’s sleep will boost your weight loss efforts in more ways than one.

Heart healthy

We all know smoking is bad for the heart, but a habitual lack of sleep can be just as bad, say researchers from the Netherlands. A study of the effects of exercise and diet on the risk of cardiovascular disease found that the effects of a healthy lifestyle were redoubled when accompanied by seven or more hours’ sleep.

"The public health impact of sufficient sleep duration, in addition to the traditional healthy lifestyle factors, could be substantial...the evidence is certainly growing that sleep should be added to our list of cardiovascular disease risk factors," the authors wrote.

Although seven hours was the required amount for most people to be rested, researchers did note that it depended on the individual’s needs and the quality of the rest. An earlier study the team did found that those who had less than seven hours’ sleep but woke feeling rested did not have the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Late-night binging

The longer you’re awake, the more calories you burn, right? Right, but it doesn’t equate to weight loss, because people tend to eat more they need to late at night. The weight gain is even more significant after several days’ lack of sleep, with men more prone to weight gain than women. The effects of a lack of sleep were studied by University of Colorado’s Kenneth Wright.

“Just getting less sleep, by itself, is not going to lead to weight gain,” he said. “But when people get insufficient sleep, it leads them to eat more than they actually need.”

The effects of late-night eating are magnified because our bodies aren’t meant to be processing fresh energy just before bedtime.

“When people are sleep-restricted, our findings show they eat during their biological nighttime when internal physiology is not designed to be taking in food. If we can incorporate healthy sleep into weight-loss and weight-maintenance programs, our findings suggest that it may assist people to obtain a healthier weight.”

It’s important to be sensible about rest, especially if you’re used to staying up late. If you feel you may need extra counselling to help you overcome obstacles related to sleep, talk to our life coaching team for bariatric patients and they will be able to help you.

Image Credit: Kristina