Sleep is our body’s way of recharging energy to face a new day. Rest is also very important in metabolic functions, because according to a study by the University of Medicine of Chicago (USA), sleeping longer, ideally 8.5 hours, could reduce the amount of calories eaten during the day, since being more rested helps to better control your appetite.
These results have been obtained in a clinical trial with 80 adults that has been published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The trial involved participants receiving advice on sleep hygiene and found that overweight young adults managed to increase their nightly sleep by an average of 1.2 hours, up from less than 6.5 hours a day previously.
One of the keys to this trial is that it was conducted in a real-world setting, that is, the dietary habits and lifestyle of the participating adults were not modified or controlled (they slept in their own beds, were not instructed about diet or exercise to follow), they simply offered advice to improve their sleep. The findings indicated that longer sleep duration reduced individuals’ total caloric intake by 270 kcal per day on average, compared to people in the control group. Some participants ate up to 500 kcal less per day.
Sleep, a simple way to contribute to weight loss
The reduction of these daily calories could translate, according to the study, into a loss of about 12 kg of weight in a period of three years if the effects were maintained in the long term. And this would only require small personalized changes in habits before sleep, one of the most prominent was the limitation of the use of electronic devices before bed.
Those who slept the most reduced their total caloric intake by 270 kcal per day on average, which would mean a weight loss of 12 kg in three years
“Over the years, we and others have shown that sleep restriction has an effect on appetite regulation that leads to increased food intake and thus puts you at risk for weight gain over time. weather. More recently, the question everyone was asking was: well, if this is what happens with sleep loss, can we prolong sleep and reverse some of these adverse outcomes?” says Esra Tasali, lead author of the study.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the study was the simplicity of the intervention. “We saw that after a single sleep counseling session, participants were able to change their bedtime habits enough to increase sleep duration,” Tasali said.
In this study, the participants were only followed up for four weeks, however, the authors emphasize that with only that time they already found evidence of a decrease in caloric intake and a negative energy balance, which if maintained would lead to a loss of significant weight over time.
The authors of the work intend to continue investigating the underlying mechanisms that explain these results, since sleeping more would be a simple way to contribute to weight loss in overweight people, avoiding or reversing obesity, an important health problem that increasingly affects more people.