Are you one of the millions of U.S. adults trying to lose weight? According to the results of new research, keeping your stress levels low and getting a moderate amount of sleep may help you reach your goals. In the study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers looked at nearly 500 participants to determine if factors such as stress, depression, sleep, computer use and television viewing were correlated with weigh loss.
Participants in the study attended weekly meetings where they were weighed and received advice on losing weight. The participants were instructed to reduce daily caloric intake by 500 calories, consume more fruits and vegetables, cut back on sugar, keep a daily food journal and increase exercise to 180 minutes each week.
Participants were also asked to report their levels of depression, insomnia and stress and also track how many hours were spent sleeping, watching television or using the computer. Previous studies have suggested that these factors are associated with obesity, but not many have looked at how they might impact weight loss.
In the first phase of this ongoing study, researchers found that people with the lowest stress levels who got between six and eight hours of sleep each night were the most likely to lose at least 10 pounds. The authors of the study caution that the same results might not apply to all people and that motivation also plays an important role.
"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," explained lead author Charles Elder, MD, MPH, an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon. "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. For some people, mind/body techniques such as meditation also might be helpful."
Check out these links for more information how you can lower your stress levels and more important reasons to get a good night's sleep.
Learn more about this study:
- Moderate Sleep and Less Stress May Help With Weight Loss - Kaiser Permanente News Center
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