Are your pants feeling a bit tighter since the holiday season? Don’t feel so bad, many of us are in the same boat. But now that it’s the new year, it’s time to get back on track and get rid of those extra pounds. Yes, you can change your diet, and of course, you can exercise. But what’s easier than those two things is sleeping, which researchers say may be the key to losing weight.
The CDC reports that one in three Americans are not getting adequate sleep. Many studies have linked poor sleep with obesity, high blood pressure, and glucose intolerance, which can trigger diabetes.
Researchers at King’s College London completed a pilot study, which tested whether or not a simple intervention could increase sleep.
The study included 21 healthy short-term sleepers who underwent a 45-minute sleep consultation. The participants were given helpful tactics to extend their sleep duration, including information to reduce their caffeine intake and creating a relaxing setting to promote sleep.
The participants kept sleep diaries to record their experiences along with sleep duration for seven nights. They also wore motion sensors to track how long they slept for and how long it took them to fall asleep.
The researchers also recorded the participant’s nutritional intake.
The researchers found that 86 percent of the sleep extension group increased their time spent in bed and nearly half increased their sleep duration. Three individuals hit the recommended seven- to nine-hour sleep duration.
The researchers argue that additional sleep may not be of good quality, so they recommend additional changes be made to a person’s routine to promote good quality sleep.
On the other hand, the researchers did see benefits of extended sleep on diet. They reported that those who managed to extend their sleep consumed 10g less of free sugars and carbohydrates.
Dr. Wendy Hall explained, “The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of free sugars, by which we mean the sugars that are added to foods by manufacturers or in cooking at home as well as sugars in honey, syrups, and fruit juice, suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets.”
The pilot study also hints at the fact that those who slept longer made healthier food choices too.
Sleep is well known to help reduce the risk of many diseases and illnesses so it clearly is an integral part of good health. The added bonus is what it can do for your waistline. Therefore, if you’re not getting proper sleep, you want to incorporate tricks and habits into your daily life to improve your sleep.
Related: Eating these foods can help you get a good night’s sleep