Getting Right Amount of Sleep May Help With Weight Loss

Lower baseline stress associated with success in intervention program, increased weight loss

MONDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Sleeping between six and eight hours a night and having less stress may predict an individual's success in a behavioral weight loss intervention, according to a study published online March 29 in the International Journal of Obesity.

Charles R. Elder, M.D., of Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., and colleagues investigated whether sleep time, screen time (computer or television), depression, and stress predicted success in a weight loss program. In the first phase of the LIFE study, 472 obese people participated in 26 weeks of intensive behavioral weight loss counseling. Sleep time, insomnia, screen time, depression, and stress were measured at the beginning of the program and after weight loss. Participants who lost at least 4.5 kg in the first stage were eligible to continue to the second stage of the weight loss program.

The researchers found that the average weight loss was 6.3 kg, and 60 percent of participants were eligible for the second phase. Sleep time and lower stress at the program's start predicted success in the weigh loss program. Participants who slept more than six hours, and less than or equal to eight hours, were more likely to lose enough weight to achieve eligibility for the study's second phase. A lower baseline stress level also predicted eligibility for the second phase, as well as overall greater weight loss in the first phase. Weight loss was significantly associated with reduced stress (P = 0.048) and depression (P = 0.035).

"Results suggest that clinicians and investigators might consider targeting sleep, depression, and stress as part of a behavioral weight loss intervention," the authors write.

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