Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sleep and Weight Loss: “I’m Loving It”

As catchy as McDonald’s “I’m loving it” slogan sounds, new research shows that sleeping eight hours per night can cut a Big-Mac’s worth of calories from your diet – and that is something to love.

The study found that normal-weight men ate 560 more calories per day when they had four hours of sleep the night before, in contrast to eight hours.

The study involved 12 healthy young men. The researches examined how sleep affected food intake and physical activity during two 48-hour sessions.

Two days served as a control period. The study participants maintained normal routines and tracked their sleep, eating and activities in a diary.

During the second two-day period, the men went to bed at midnight and woke up at 8 a.m. on one day. On the other day, they went to bed at 2 a.m. and woke up at 6 a.m. They were allowed to eat as much as they liked.

After the night of short sleep, the men consumed an average of 22 percent more calories than when they slept for eight hours.

The findings make it clear that people need to do their best to get an adequate amount of sleep so their bodies can function properly, the researchers told Reuters Health.

This study was the first of its kind to look at what happens to a normal-weight person's eating patterns when he or she sleeps less. Results indicate that one night of reduced sleep can increase food intake and decrease physical activity.

The authors suggest that sleep deprivation may contribute to the current rise in obesity.

Whether you are trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose a few extra pounds, getting enough sleep is important. Excess weight can contribute to developing sleep apnea. In December, this blog reported that weight loss can reduce the severity of sleep apnea.

Image by Dain Sandoval

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.