If you want to lose weight but don’t have the time or inclination to diet or exercise, this new discovery could be good news for you. A new study has just identified a link between sleep and the absorption of calories by the body. To absorb fewer calories, it would be enough to stay in bed a little longer.
The scientists behind the study carried out an experiment that saw 80 overweight adults take part, typically spending less than 6.5 hours sleeping each night. During the experiment, these subjects were asked to add an average of 1.2 hours more to their sleep time. The results showed a reduction in daily calorie intake of around 270 calories.
Two weeks after the start of the experiment, the researchers observed that the calorie intake had decreased to become less than the amount of calories burned by the participants. This result means that the method could lead to long-term weight loss.
The link with lack of sleep
Many studies have shown a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. This latest study is therefore based on an approach opposite to what has already been done before.
According to Esra Tasali, director of the University of Chicago Sleep Center, limiting sleep time has been shown over the years to have an effect on appetite regulation. This effect leads to an increase in the amount of food consumed, also increasing the risk of weight gain. Tasali added that recently people have started to wonder if increasing sleep time will have the opposite effect.
In any case, the scientists indicated that if we maintained this reduction in calorie intake for a period of three years, this would lead to a weight loss of almost 12 kg.
The benefits of studying
There are a few points that make this experiment on the benefits of increased sleep time relevant. First, it was conducted in the real world, not in a lab. Participants were able to sleep in their own bed, with a wearable device to track their sleep and the things they usually do, like the food they eat or the amount of exercise they do.
To be able to track their calorie intake, the subjects in the experiment used a certain urine test, considered to be the standard method for tracking the amount of energy expended daily outside of the lab.
Another notable point of the experiment is also the fact that the participants were able to quickly adapt their sleep schedule after just one orientation session. The subjects were coached on good sleep hygiene and given advice on how to increase their sleep time.
It should also be noted that the participants did not know that they were taking part in a sleep experiment when they registered. This allowed the researchers to observe truthful patterns of sleep.
Whatever the case, doctors indicate that a balanced diet and the practice of physical exercises remain the best way to be in good health. However, a good sleeping habit could play an important role in weight loss for those who suffer from obesity.