A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that sleeping more lowered food intake in overweight people. The team titled the study Effect of Sleep Extension on Objectively Assessed Energy Intake Among Adults With Overweight in Real-life Settings.
Many studies show how insufficient sleep leads to weight gain. The reason is that sleep helps with appetite regulation which has a direct impact on weight gain. For this reason, the researchers wanted to know what effect more sleep could have on weight.
How researchers conducted the study
The researchers gathered 80 adults in randomized clinical trials. The participants were overweight and tended to sleep less than 6.5 hours each day. The study went for four weeks.
In the first two weeks, researchers gathered information on the volunteers sleeping and eating patterns.
The following two weeks involved assigning sleep counseling to half of the participants and making them sleep an extra 1.2 hours each night. The rest of the respondents kept their usual schedules as the control group. Researchers monitored the participants using wearable trackers.
This study stands out from the rest on the same topic
According to the road study author from the University of Chicago Medicine, Esra Tasali, most studies on the topic take place in the lab for a few days. Moreover, most researchers evaluate the participants’ food intake from what they offer them.
However, with this new study, the respondents ate whatever they wanted. The researchers did not give them ways to monitor what they are. Furthermore, the only thing they altered was their sleep patterns.
The team evaluated the energy expenditure of the respondents using the doubly labeled water method, developed in the 1980s. It involves giving the volunteers drinking water with stable isotopes instead of hydrogen and oxygen. Researchers then use them to measure calories burned since they were traceable when out of the body easily.
Results indicated that participants who had extra sleep ate less food. In addition, some of them reduced their intake by 500 calories daily. The average number of calories that participants cut back on was 270. This was despite the team conducting the study for a short period.