Could losing weight act as a sleep aid?

Could losing weight act as a sleep aid?

Sometimes just trying to fall asleep can be a nightmare. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling insufficient sleep an epidemic in the U.S., many people turn to quick fixes like sleeping medication or other tactics.

While these approaches may work at first, a new study says there are more natural and permanent ways to help improve your sleep. Weight loss may hold a a key.

During a study, researchers found that for overweight adults who lost at least 5 percent of their body weight reported better and longer sleep. Results from this study were presented at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine in Chicago.

During this two-year study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers compared three behavioral interventions for weight loss in overweight adults treated in primary care practices.

The study consisted of 390 subjects that were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Group one was usual care, where each person was given educational materials during quarterly visits with their primary care provider. Group two received some lifestyle counseling during their quarterly visits with their primary care provider, combined with brief meetings with lifestyle coaches. Group three was given enhanced lifestyle counseling, meal replacements and weight loss medications.

The researchers looked for fluctuation in weight, quality of mood and amount of sleep after a six-month and a 24-month period. They looked specifically at participants who lost over five percent of their body weight against those who lost less than five percent.

Looking at all three groups, subjects who lost 5 percent or more reported gaining an average of 21.6 minutes of sleep a night while subjects who lost less than five percent of their body weight only gained an average of 1.2 minutes a night. This pattern continued when it came to the subject’s mood. Participants who lost more weight reported feeling livelier and had more energy than those who had lost less weight.

Not only will losing weight help you sleep better, but obtaining the right amount of sleep will also make losing weight easier, researchers said.

Jamie Portnoy, a registered dietician with Advocate Medical Group in Libertyville, Ill. agrees that sleep is important for an overall healthy lifestyle.

“As one of the cornerstones to long-term weight management adequate sleep (7-9 hours per night is recommended) and your sleep should be restful and uninterrupted,” Portnoy says. “One should not ignore the way they sleep when going on a diet and changing their way of eating. Obtaining adequate sleep may enhance the beneficial effects of a healthy lifestyle. And not getting enough sleep could reverse the anticipated effects.”

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  1. It’s interesting that the CDC is referring to insufficient sleep as an “epidemic” when it seems like such an easy fix. But I guess it truly is difficult with busy lives and constant technology!

  2. I’ve also heard the inverse is true, as well–if you get proper sleep, you’ll lose weight. The two seem to go hand-in-hand.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.