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Weight Loss Enhances Sleep Quality and Mood, Says New Study

Weight LossMost often the result of poor eating habits and lack of exercise, obesity affects both physical and psychological health and quality of life. Many studies have linked insufficient sleep to increased risk of developing serious medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Now, a new study published in ScienceDaily says that people who lose weight sleep better. The results of the study were presented in June at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and The Endocrine Society.

According to the study funded by the National Institutes of Health, obese people who lose at least 5 percent of their body weight report that they sleep better and longer after six months of losing weight. The research also found that in addition to improved sleep quality, the subjects of the study reported improvements in mood, regardless of how they lost weight. The study confirms several studies which showed that weight loss is linked to increased sleep duration, said the lead researcher.

The 390 study subjects participated in the Practice-based Opportunities for Weight Reduction at the Univ. of Pennsylvania (POWER-UP) trial. The researchers compared data relating to three behavioral interventions in obese adults treated in primary care practices. The study subjects (311 women and 79 men) were randomly assigned to one of three program groups that provided support to achieve the same diet and exercise goals. The three program groups included

  • Usual care (where in subjects received printed educational materials as part of their quarterly visits with their primary care provider)
  • Lifestyle counseling (included quarterly visits with their primary care provider along with brief meetings with lifestyle coaches)
  • Enhanced lifestyle counseling (included meal replacements, weight loss programs and medications)

The researchers analyzed changes in weight, mood, and sleep duration and quality following 6-24 months of treatment. The evaluation controlled for variables such as sex and age. A comparison was made between subjects who lost 5% or more of their body weight with those who lost less than 5% (irrespective of the group they were in).

The researchers found that at the end of six months, adults in both lifestyles counseling groups lost more weight on average than those in the usual care group. While examining all the three subject groups together, those adults who had lost about 5% after 6 months reported an increase in an average of 21.6 minutes of sleep a night when compared with just 1.2 minutes for those who lost less than 5%. In addition, adults who lost more than 5% of initial weight displayed higher improvements in sleep quality and mood.

More than two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, says a report by the Food and Research Action Center (FRAC). Obesity is a problem among children too, with about a quarter of children age 2-5 and one-third of school-age children (including adolescents) overweight in the U.S. The medical care costs of obesity are very high. While the government is actively promoting programs to control obesity, it is up to every individual to lead a healthy lifestyle with proper eating habits and active living.

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