The secret might be out, there’s proof that our bodies can lose weight by sleeping
There’s data out there that we’re able to lose weight by sleeping. A new study suggests that just one more hour of sleep each night could help overweight people eat 270 less calories per day. Sounds like the fat’s out of the bag.
To compile the four-week study, Dr. Esra Tasali, the lead author and director of the Sleep Research Center at The University of Chicago Medicine, recruited 80 overweight participants who had a body mass index between 25-29.9 and averaged 30 years of age and less than 6.5 hours of sleep per night. For reference, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends 7 to 9 hours per night.
Tasali and her colleagues randomly assigned the participants into two groups, one “sleep extension group” that increased their sleep to 8.5 hours a night, and one “control group” that retained the same 6.5 hours of sleep a night. No advice on diet or exercise were given but the participants had to wear wrist sensors to track how they would lose weight by sleeping.
The wrist sensors measured the groups’ sleep cycles for two weeks, and for the most accurate results, caloric intake and urine tests were also tracked for the following two weeks. This concluded with the “sleep extension group” gaining sleep extension benefits such as eating up to 500 less calories per day, along with losing one pound of weight. The control group ended up increasing their caloric intake by 115 calories per day and gaining a bit under a pound.
It’s important to note that none of the participants had the intention of losing weight, as they were told the study was only done to collect information about sleeping habits and metabolism, without any information whatsoever on how to lose weight by sleeping. Overall, the participants ate an average of 2,655 calories per day, and evidence shows that sleep appears to impact appetite hormones, which could aid or hinder weight loss over time.
“We believe, hopefully, our study could be a game changer for our battle with the obesity epidemic in our society,” said Tasali. “It’s really about using sufficient sleep as a simple tool that can be really successful.”