Scientists from the University of Chicago and elsewhere found that longer sleep may reduce energy intake in overweight people.
Overweight and obese increase the risk for many health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, joint problems, liver disease, gallstones, some types of cancer, and sleep and breathing problems, among other conditions.
Short sleep duration has been found as a risk factor for obesity. But whether longer sleep duration may reduce this risk remains unknown.
In the current study, researchers aimed to determine the effects of a sleep extension on energy intake and expenditure, and body weight in real-life settings in overweight adults.
A total of 80 people were overweight adults aged 21 to 40 years and had habitual sleep duration of fewer than 6.5 hours per night.
They were assigned to either an individualized sleep hygiene counseling session that was intended to extend their bedtime to 8.5 hours (sleep extension group) or to continue their habitual sleep (control group).
All participants were asked to continue daily routine activities at home without any prescribed diet or physical activity.
The researchers found that sleep duration was increased by about 1.2 hours per night in the sleep extension group vs the control group.
The sleep extension group had a strong decrease in energy intake compared with the control group. The change in sleep duration was linked to lower energy intake but not energy expenditure.
Based on the findings, the team suggests that sleep extension could reduce energy intake in real-life settings in overweight people who habitually curtailed their sleep duration.
They suggest Improving and maintaining healthy sleep duration over longer periods may help with obesity prevention and weight loss programs.
The research was published in JAMA Internal Medicine and conducted by Esra Tasali et al.
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