Sleep could be a key factor in behavioural weight loss

30 March 2011

Doctors may benefit from targeting patients' sleep patterns when creating a tailored behavioural weight loss intervention.

According to a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity, there are a number of things that affect the efficacy of weight loss programmes - and a lack of sleep and increased stress are two of the most important factors.

Researchers from US healthcare consortium Kaiser Permanente, led by Dr Charles Elder, found that people aiming to lose ten pounds were more likely to do so if they had manageable stress levels and moderate sleep patterns.

"This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress," said lead author Dr Charles Elder.

"Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep," he added.

Recent research has shown that obesity in the US is a growing problem and has risen dramatically in the past 30 years.

Posted by Philip Briggs

1 Elder, Charles et al. "Impact of sleep, screen time, depression and stress on weight change in the intensive weight loss phase of the LIFE study". International Journal of Obesity. Tuesday, March 29th 2011.

2 "National, regional, and global trends in body-mass index since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 960 country-years and 9.1 million participants". The Lancet. Friday, February 4th 2011.

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