Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Can a “Sleep Diet” Really Help You Lose Weight?

Research has linked your risk of obesity to how long you normally sleep. So can you lose weight by getting more sleep?

Seven women decided to take the challenge. Their story is told in
Glamour magazine and on the Today show.

They practiced a specially designed “Sleep Diet” for 10 weeks. They were told to refrain from making any other changes to their eating or exercise habits.

The results? Six of the seven women stuck to the sleep plan and lost weight; one woman was unable to follow the plan because of her work schedule. The women lost six to 15 pounds each.

Here’s the sleep plan they followed:

  1. Get at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day. A one or two-hour change was allowed on weekends, as long as they still slept for at least 7.5 hours.
  3. No caffeine after 2:30 p.m. No alcohol within three hours of bedtime.
  4. Find your ideal sleep time. You may need more than 7.5 hours of sleep each night if you depend on an alarm to wake up in the morning. Go to bed about 15 minutes earlier each night until you are able to wake on your own, feeling fully rested.

That’s it. The women did face some challenges. For some it was hard to go to bed earlier than they had in the past.

But there were other benefits in addition to the weight loss. Some of the women reported having much more energy than before.

So what do you think? Is the “Sleep Diet” a good way to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight?

Which would be harder for you: giving up some foods to go on a diet or giving up some free time to get more sleep?

Learn more about healthy sleep habits. Read a list of sleep tips for women.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In theory it's a lovely idea. I read the Glamour article and it seemed to cite a few factors in contributing to weight loss. One seemed to be the release of a hormone (or other chemical) whilst asleep which in some way regulates body fat.

My main issue would be that no matter how early or late I go to sleep I wake between every sleep cycle. I therefore wonder if this hormone would benefit from the same cumulative effect as someone who was asleep the whole night, or whether my own rhythms prevent this?

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