There is an interesting study in the International Journal of Obesity this month. Lots of times in the past I've pointed to things saying to get more sleep for lots of health reasons - inflammation, stress reduction etc. I have just drafted up an article on sleep and I talk about the signals that you give to your body. Compromised sleep sends a signal that you are under threat....so you produce stress hormones to get you ready for the threat.....and chronically elevated stress hormones (cortisol etc) lead to all sorts of problems....including obesity.
This new study found that those who slept more were better at losing weight! Lowered stress was also a success factor, although that is linked - sleep more a way of reducing stress.
Anyway, here is the abstract:
Impact of sleep, screen time, depression and stress on weight change in the intensive weight loss phase of the LIFE study
The LIFE study is a two-phase randomized clinical trial comparing two approaches to maintaining weight loss following guided weight loss. Phase I provided a nonrandomized intensive 6-month behavioral weight loss intervention to 472 obese (body mass index 30–50) adult participants. Phase II is the randomized weight loss maintenance portion of the study. This paper focuses on Phase I measures of sleep, screen time, depression and stress.
The Phase I intervention consisted of 22 group sessions led over 26 weeks by behavioral counselors. Recommendations included reducing dietary intake by 500 calories per day, adopting the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) dietary pattern and increasing physical exercise to at least 180 min per week. Measures reported here are sleep time, insomnia, screen time, depression and stress at entry and post-weight loss intervention follow-up.
The mean weight loss for all participants over the intensive Phase I weight loss intervention was 6.3 kg (s.d. 7.1). Sixty percent (N=285) of participants lost at least 4.5 kg (10 lbs) and were randomized into Phase II. Participants (N=472) attended a mean of 73.1% (s.d. 26.7) of sessions, completed 5.1 (s.d. 1.9) daily food records/week, and reported 195.1 min (s.d. 123.1) of exercise per week. Using logistic regression, sleep time (quadratic trend, P=0.030) and lower stress (P=0.024) at entry predicted success in the weight loss program, and lower stress predicted greater weight loss during Phase I (P=0.021). In addition, weight loss was significantly correlated with declines in stress (P=0.048) and depression (P=0.035).
Results suggest that clinicians and investigators might consider targeting sleep, depression and stress as part of a behavioral weight loss intervention.