This past fall, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study that suggested that lack of adequate sleep may be a key indicator to why it is difficult for many people to lose and keep off weight. The authors suggest that increased physical activity levels may improve the quality of sleep and provide other health benefits.
Move More, Eat Less
According to the authors, individuals who got at least eight hours of sleep nightly on a decreased calorie diet lost more weight than individuals on the same diet who only slept five hours a night. Although this particular study did not examine physical activity levels, the study authors suggest that adding exercise often improves the quality of sleep for many people. Study authors also cited other sources indicating insufficient sleep stimulates neurochemicals that drive individuals to eat unhealthy amounts of food, thus prompting weight gain.
In another study published by the American Heart Association, individuals who were only allowed to sleep two-thirds of their normal sleep hours consumed approximately 500 additional calories daily. In comparison, individuals in the study who were allowed to sleep their regular amount of sleep ate normal amounts of food.
Physical activity can also have the benefit of boosting metabolism, even during periods of rest. By combining regular exercise with a diet that includes complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, it is possible to maximize the weight loss benefits of physical activity.
How many hours do you sleep on a regular basis? Do you think you get enough sleep or do you need more?
– The Alternative Daily