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The Facts:
  • Weight loss of 5 percent of total weight led to 22 additional minutes of sleep per night
  • Researchers observed improvements in mood
  • Patients who could not lose as much weight gained only about a minute of sleep

Get fit this summer to improve your sleep

Filed in
  • Weight
  • sleep length

Patrick Murray  |  Jun 25, 2014
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Your summer fitness plan will help to do more than flatten your belly. By losing at least 5 percent of your weight, you’ll sleep longer and more soundly, a new study shows.

For example, for someone who weighs 200 pounds, losing just 10 pounds will pay off in your sleep quality.

Another benefit of weight loss is feeling happy and more awake during the daytime. Past research shows high-quality sleep has major mood benefits.

The research was presented at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago.

Participants in the study lost weight by participating in one of three programs centered on diet and exercise. The first group received printed educational materials during primary care visits few months. Another group had brief meetings with lifestyle coaches. The last received meal replacements and weight-loss medications.

At the end of the 6-month diet period, the standard diet group lost an average of 4.4 pounds compared to 8 pounds in the coaching group and 15 pounds in the medication and meal replacement group.

While the amount of weight lost varied based on the dietary approach, the benefits from the weight loss were the same: everyone who lost at least 5 percent of their weight slept an average of 22 minutes longer. Those who couldn’t lose as much weight gained only about a minute of sleep per night.

The improvements in mood were also similar for all study participants who lost at least 5 percent of their weight.

The relationship between sleep and weight goes both ways.

Sleep is an essential part of a healthy diet. By sleeping at least 7 hours per night, you’ll be less likely to crave sweet, salty or fatty junk foods. In other words, you might actually opt for the salad instead of the burger and fries because of improved self-control.

If your summer weight loss plan needs an extra boost, ramping up the intensity of your workout may improve the benefits of exercise