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Loss of sleep and weight loss

I take most ‘new’ studies with a grain of salt, but this one seems interesting enough for me at least to post about. It appears to be nothing new in regards to information, but certainly gives ammunition to the age-old argument of getting a decent nights sleep.

According to a new study published October 5, 2010, in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a lack of sleep can seriously hinder your bodys ability to not only burn fat, but also to hold onto muscle.

The study, performed at the University of Chicago’s General Clinical Resource Center, followed 10 overweight but healthy volunteers aged 35 to 49 with a body mass index ranging from 25 (considered overweight) to 32 (considered obese). Participants were placed on an individualized, balanced diet with calories restricted to 90 percent of what each person needed to maintain his or her weight without exercise.

When dieters in the study got a full night’s sleep, they lost the same amount of weight as when they slept less. The BIG, BIG caveat here is that when dieters got adequate sleep, more than half of the weight they lost was fat.

When they cut back on their sleep, only 1/4 of their weight loss came from fat.

They also felt hungrier! That’s a double-whammy my friend.

When sleep was restricted, dieters produced higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure.

“If your goal is to lose fat, skipping sleep is like poking sticks in your bicycle wheels,” said study director Plamen Penev, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. “Cutting back on sleep, a behavior that is ubiquitous in modern society, appears to compromise efforts to lose fat through dieting. In our study it reduced fat loss by 55 percent.”

Read the full article here

Editor’s Note: What do you think of this study? Comment below.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Cassie says:

    So next time you catch me sleeping in on the weekend you’ll let me?

  • Yeah not to make sure of this study: For losing sleep add to stress levels and lowers intensity during train cause you are tired which all of this would not help you lose weight but sleep in itself to lose fat?
    I get about 5 hours a sleep per day and seem to have enough energy but I guess its an easy experiment to try to see what happens

  • Hey Clint,

    I agree with Raymond to a point…some people DO seem to require less sleep than others. I’m sure it has something to do with our physiology. With that being said….I know what happens to my body when I don’t get the right amout of sleep for me (which is about 7 hours), and it ain’t good. My immune system takes a hit, my stress levels go up, I become grouchy and it is often a struggle to workout. I can certainly force myself to push through with less than 7 hour of sleep; however, I can not do it for too many days in a row or I really start to feel it.

    Best wishes,

    ~ Pete

  • Clint,

    This is a very interesting study. Sleep is an X-factor when it comes to maintaining a healthy body weight. I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night and if I don’t get enough one night, I try to make up for it by taking a nap or sleeping more the next night. In fact, I set a weekly goal of 50 hours.


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