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The University of Chicago Medicine has found that getting enough sleep could contribute to weight loss. Researchers discovered that people who slept enough had less appetite and thus ate about 500 calories less each day.

This study comes as obesity levels in the U.S are rising. Obesity can predispose people to cancer, diabetes, and heart problems. Moreover, people with obesity are more likely to struggle with their mental health.

According to the lead study author from the University of Chicago Medicine, Dr. Esra Tasali, this is not the first study showing a correlation between lack of sleep and weight gain. Not getting enough sleep often disrupts your appetite regulations causing you to eat more and gain weight.

However, Dr. Tasali points out that this is the first study to look into the reverse. Not many others have investigated if sleeping longer could help people lose weight.

How researchers conducted the study

The team gathered 80 young and overweight people. These adults typically slept for about six and a half hours each night. Researchers gave the volunteers sleep monitors to wear. They also counseled them on getting their sleep to eight and a half hours. Since they had received enough instructions, the respondents could still sleep in their beds instead of labs.

Dr. Tasali states that the study stands out from others on the same topic as volunteers usually have to sleep in labs for a few days. Moreover, researchers typically measure their food intake from the amount that they offer.

The study was not in a lab

For their study, the University of Chicago only tracked the sleep of their participants. This move allowed them to control their food intake. It also allowed the researchers to carry out the study for an extended period.

The team used the doubly labeled water technique to examine the volunteers’ urine, thus finding their calorie intake. The test involves giving the participants water with other atoms instead of oxygen and hydrogen.

The four-week study could give people more incentive time to get more sleep. Furthermore, it could help reduce obesity rates in the U.S. Researchers point out that people need to set up a long-term sleep routine to see results.