Diet: sleeping less than 6 hours prevents you from staying slim

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Researchers recommend that adults sleep between 7 and 9 a.m. each night. In France, this advice is little followed. According to Inserm figures, the French sleep on average 1h30 less than 50 years and 45% of them consider that they lack sleep.

However, Lack of sleep is known to promote certain diseases. These include cardiovascular disease,obesity, the cancer and diabetes.

But, the short nights would also be may also influence your weightas shown in this recent Danish study presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Maastricht (Netherlands) from May 4-7, 2022.

Low calorie diet: up to 12% reduction in body mass

During their work, the researchers observed 195 obese adults aged between 18 and 65. To begin, participants followed a low calorie diet during eight weeks. The latter gave them loses an average of 12% of their body mass. They then had to maintain their weight for a year, following four different methods:

  • the first group received a daily injection of placebo (49 people);
  • the second had daily injection of 3 mg of liraglutide (slimming product) (49 people);
  • the third should perform four sports sessions per week (48 people);
  • and the last group combined the treatment as well as the series of exercises (49 people).

“All the members who had to play sports were encouraged to participate in supervised 45-minute sessions, twice a week, to do spinning (indoor cycling) and circuit training (muscle strengthening reinforced by several series of exercises), and two unsupervised 30-minute sessions.”, say the researchers.

Scientists have measured sleep quality participants before and after the low-calorie diet, then after 13, 26 and 52 weeks. It was assessed using the PSQI (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), i.e. a self-assessment questionnaire.

To examine the association between sleep and weight gainthe participants were grouped according to their average duration or the quality of their night after the diet.

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Sleeping less than six hours increases BMI

The researchers found that after the 8 week low calorie dietthe quality and duration of sleep improved in all participants.

After a year of weight maintenance, participants exercising maintained good sleep quality, while non-exercise groups have relapsed. Liraglutide treatment had no no significant effect on quality or duration of sleep compared to placebo.

Analyzes have also shown that people who slept on average less than 6 hours per night have seen their BMI increase by 1.3 kg/m² during the weight stabilization phase, compared to the others.

“It was intriguing that adults who don’t get enough or bad sleep after slimming down, seem less successful in maintaining weight loss than those who get enough sleep.” says Adrian F. Bogh from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

Despite promising results, further studies are needed, as explained by Professor Torekov from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark): “Future research examining possible ways to improve sleep in obese adults will be an important next step to limit weight gain. Weight loss maintained through exercise shows promise for improving sleep.”

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