Regular, undisturbed sleep encourages people to maintain their food and exercise goals


According to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2023, people who reported getting regular, uninterrupted sleep did better at sticking to their exercise and diet plans while attempting to lose weight. The symposium, which will take place in Boston from February 28 to March 3, 2023, will feature the most recent research on population-based health and wellness, as well as its effects on lifestyle and cardiometabolic health.

The researchers looked at whether people’s ability to stick to the various lifestyle changes suggested in a 12-month weight loss program was associated with how well they slept. The 125 persons who participated in the weight-loss program had body mass indices between 27 and 44, were on average 50 years old, were 91% female, and were 81% white. They were free of any conditions that would have required medical supervision of their food or physical activity.

Using patient questionnaires, a sleep journal, and seven-day readings from a wrist-worn device that recorded sleep, waking activity, and rest, sleep habits were assessed at the start of the program, at 6 months, and at 12 months. Six sleep-related measures—regularity, satisfaction, alertness, timing, efficiency (the proportion of time spent in bed when truly asleep), and duration—were used to assign a “excellent” or “poor” rating to each participant. Each participant received a composite sleep health score ranging from 0 to 6, with one point awarded for each “excellent” indicator of sleep health. Higher scores denoted higher levels of sleep health.

Adherence to the weight loss program was measured by percentage of group intervention sessions attended; percentage of days in which each participant ate between 85-115% of their recommended daily calories; and change in daily duration of moderate or vigorous physical activity. Participants had an average sleep health score of 4.5 out of 6 at the start of the study, at 6 months and at 12 months. Participants self-reported their caloric intake each day using a phone app and researchers measured participants’ physical activity with an accelerometer worn at the waist for one week at a time at the start of the study, at 6 months and at 12 months.

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