Poor sleep can harm weight loss, points out Danish study – 05/05/2022

Getting a good night’s sleep is extremely important for our health. People who switch from day to night, for example, feel different impacts on the body, such as metabolic and neurological problems.

Poor sleep can also hinder people trying to maintain a healthy weight. This is what a study carried out by the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, showed this Wednesday (4th) at the European Congress on Obesity, in Maastricht, Netherlands, which Live well is following.

“The way we sleep, as well as the duration and quality of sleep, must be taken into account because it is very difficult to maintain weight loss,” explains Signe Torekov, a professor at the University of Copenhagen and author of the study, in a press interview. .

How the study was done

The researchers looked at 195 obese adults from Denmark, ages 18 to 65, who participated in S-Lite, a randomized trial (where participants are randomly allocated) and followed them for 8 weeks.

Participants were randomly divided into 4 groups:

1) Those who received a placebo injection;

2) Those who exercised and received placebo;

3) Those who took a daily injection with liraglutide, a drug responsible for weight loss;

4) Those who received the medicine and did physical exercises.

All exercise groups were encouraged to participate in supervised 45-minute sessions twice a week, doing spin and circuit, and two 30-minute unsupervised sessions.

The researchers also assessed sleep quality using a questionnaire taken by the participants. Patients’ diets were monitored before and after the study—after 13, 26, and 52 weeks of weight maintenance.

To examine the association between sleep and weight gain, participants were grouped according to mean sleep duration (below/above 6 hours per night) or sleep quality (below/above a questionnaire score of 5) after diet.

Lower scores on the questionnaire indicate better quality sleep, ranging from 0 for the best sleep to 21 for the worst sleep possible. Scores greater than five are considered poor quality sleep.

What were the main results?

The researchers found that after the 8-week low-calorie diet, sleep quality and duration improved in all participants.

After one year of weight maintenance, participants in the exercise groups had improvements in sleep quality achieved with the low-calorie diet. The groups without exercise showed a worsening in sleep.

Treatment with liraglutide had no significant effect on sleep quality or duration compared with placebo.

The analyzes further showed that participants who slept on average less than 6 hours per night at baseline increased their BMI by 1.3 kg/m2 during the 1-year weight maintenance phase compared with those who slept more. of 6 hours a night.

Similarly, poor sleepers at baseline increased their BMI by 1.2 kg/m2 during the weight maintenance phase compared to good sleepers.

Why this study is important

According to the research authors, the fact that sleep health is so strongly related to weight loss maintenance is important. “Many of us don’t get the recommended amount of sleep needed for a healthier life,” says Torekov.

For the author, future research examining possible ways to improve sleep in adults with obesity will be an important next step in limiting weight regain.

See tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.

  • Go to bed only when you are really sleepy;
  • Avoid stimulant substances before bed, such as caffeine;
  • Avoid screens (cell phone, TV, computer) about two hours before bed;
  • Leave the environment conducive to sleep: dark and without noise;
  • Have a sleep routine, keep the usual schedules;
  • Do physical activities, but not about two hours before going to sleep;
  • Take care of your mental health;
  • Keep a healthy diet.

*The reporter traveled at the invitation of Novo Nordisk.

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