Eat less and move more to lose weight? It may not be that simple. A recent commentary in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests adequate sleep is also important to help keep off the pounds.
Researchers compared data across multiple studies that looked at possible links between sleep and weight management. They noticed a consistent connection between sleep and weight loss: The more sleep study participants got, the more effective their weight loss endeavors . (Take that, cabbage soup.) The authors performed their own observational study which reaffirmed these findings: Over six years, scientists discovered a switch from less than six hours of sleep to seven to eight hours was linked to less overall fat gain . Researchers also analyzed some potential mechanisms behind the sleep-weight connection. A lack of sleep — usually under 7 hours a night — can stimulate processes in the brain that cause an increase in appetite and weight gain  . Not catching enough Zzz’s can also affect glucose homeostasis, plasma leptin levels, and cortisol levels — fancy terms that also increase appetite and may tempt us to go for a seconds.
Can We Trust It?
This short (but sweet) commentary covers a variety of findings on the relationship between sleep and weight management. It’s safe to say that getting enough sleep is important to staying healthy and keeping off excess weight. But that doesn’t mean we should start hitting the hay for 12+ hours a night, as oversleeping is associated with its own potential health risks.
Think sleep is key to your personal weight loss (or gaining) goals? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet the author @lschwech