Poor sleep can hamper attempts to maintain weight loss, study finds | Obesity

Poor sleep can undermine attempts to maintain weight loss, research shows.

Millions of overweight or obese people successfully lose weight every year. But many often face a struggle to roll back the pounds.

Now results from a randomized trial, which was conducted by the University of Copenhagen and presented at the European Congress on Obesity, suggest better and longer sleep patterns could help keep the weight off for good.

It is well known that lack of sleep or poor quality sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries.

Lack of sleep has also been linked to diabetes, inflammation and heart disease. Scientists increasingly believe that lack of sleep may be a contributing factor to weight regain after weight loss.

In the study, 195 obese adults between the ages of 18 and 65 followed a very low-calorie diet (800 kcal/day) for eight weeks, losing an average of 12% of their body weight.

They were then followed for a year. Their sleep duration was measured using data from wearable monitors and their sleep quality was measured with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), a self-report questionnaire.

Those who slept less than six hours a night were found to have, on average, increased their body mass index (BMI) by 1.3 points after one year compared to those who slept more than six hours.

Similarly, the BMI of those with poor quality sleep increased by 1.2 points after one year compared to those with good quality sleep. The authors noted that the study was observational and could not prove that poor sleep caused weight changes, but suggested it may contribute.

“The fact that sleep health is so strongly linked to weight loss maintenance is significant because many of us are not getting the amount of sleep recommended for optimal health and functioning,” said Professor Signe Torekov. , from the University of Copenhagen.

According to previous research, more than a third of adults in the UK and US do not get enough sleep, largely due to a host of factors in modern life, including stress, computers, smart devices and blurring the lines between work and private life.

The study also found that about two hours of vigorous physical activity per week could help maintain better sleep.

“Future research examining possible ways to improve sleep in obese adults will be an important next step in limiting weight regain,” Torekov said. “Maintained weight loss with exercise shows promise for improving sleep.”

Meanwhile, a second study presented at the conference found that more than 1,300 prostate cancer deaths in the UK could potentially be prevented each year if the average man was not overweight.

The mechanisms behind the results are still unknown, but the researchers said the UK Biobank study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, suggests men should try to maintain a healthy weight.

“Knowing more about the factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer is key to preventing it,” said Dr Aurora PĂ©rez-Cornago, study leader at Oxford University. “Age, family history and black ethnicity are known risk factors but they are not modifiable, so it is important to find out which risk factors can be modified.”

A third study presented at the conference found that almost a quarter of obese teenagers had no idea they were obese, although most worried about the effect of weight on their health future.

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