When Lennon and MCcartney penned ‘I’m only sleeping they certainly didn’t have weight loss in mind!
But the fact new research has proven adequate sleep can actually help reduce the pounds has become music to the ears of dieters across the globe. It’s definitely in tune with those experts who have previously suggested managing stress levels consistently and getting the right amount of rest can help enormously in tandem with exercise and a good diet. Many more had associated sleep problems with obesity only!!
472 people took part in a recent American study measuring whether sleep, stress, depression, television viewing and pc screen time were correlated with weight loss.
In phase one of an ongoing scheme participants from both Oregon and Washington were invited to lose ten pounds over a six month period. They were weighed at weekly meetings having previously been advised to cut their food intake by 500 calories per day. They adopted a low-sugar, low- fat diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and incorporated 180 minutes exercise into their week. Those who kept daily food records and attended more meetings were more likely to lose weight during the trial.
Trialists were also asked to record any feelings of depression, insomnia and stress. They kept a diary of time spent watching television, sitting in front of their pc and sleeping.
It was found People who slept between six and eight hours a night had a greater chance of achieving their weight-loss goal than those who slept less or more. Lower stress levels were associated with greater weight loss, particularly when combined with between six and eight hours of sleep. More than three quarters of the group moved onto the second phase having lost their initial target weight!
These findings support previous research linking obesity with poor sleep. Anyone not sleeping well and under stress will inevitably have problems sticking to a weight loss programme. It should be noted however sleep and stress levels were excellent predictors of weight loss whereas depression and screen times were not!
Exactly how lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight has a lot to do with our nightly hormones.The two key hormones in this process are ghrelin and leptin. “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone telling you you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone telling you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin. More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain. Your metabolism is slower when deprived of the right sleep.
Chronic stress may trigger hormonal reactions resulting in an intake of energy-dense foods, so eating becomes a “coping behaviour” and palatable food becomes “addictive”.
Dr Neil Stanley, from the British Sleep Society, added: “We’ve always had the eat less move more mantra. But there is a growing body of evidence that we also need to sleep well”.
“It’s also true that if you’re stressed, then you’re less likely to behave, you’ll sit at home feeling sorry for yourself, probably eating a chocolate bar.”
Keeping your weight healthy and your sleep habits strong often isn’t about a handful of big decisions, but rather a whole series of small ones, made day after day. It would seem when thinking of undergoing a diet programme, keep fit campaign or both, all aspects of your lifestyle should be taken into consideration.
It is important to point out the study does not imply weight loss can be achieved by getting a healthy amount of sleep alone. Asking people about their sleep habits and stress may be a way of identifying those who could need more help with losing weight
Lead author of the American study Charles Elder has said: “This study suggests when people are trying to lose weight, they should try and get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress alongside other lifestyle changes.
“Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep.
“For some people, mindbody techniques such as meditation also might be helpful.”
Or as John Winston Lennon and Paul James McCartney noted:
Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping!!
Journal reference: C R Elder, C M Gullion, K L Funk, L L Debar, N M Lindberg, V J Stevens. Impact of sleep, screen time, depression and stress of weight change in the intensive weight loss phase of the LIFE study. International Journal Of Obesity, 2011 DOI.
By North East Personal Trainer Darren Tyrie