Does the Sleep Diet Work?


Person Sleeping All Day

To start a fad diet, you first must have a hook. Since research studies over the years have indicated that sleep has an effect on our eating habits, what we consume and how well we burn it off, a sleep diet might look like the perfect angle. After all, when you are sleep deprived, you feel hungry and often consume more calories, burn calories less effectively and tend to give in to temptation by favoring traditional comfort foods. So it should be no surprise that the reverse relationship would be true. Not so, although it is very important to get a good night's sleep when you're trying to lose weight, there is a point of diminishing return.

Before you start a "Sleep Diet", take a look at the results of a Harvard University research study that monitored the weight of more than 120,000 participants in four-year intervals. Their findings over a twenty-year test period provided supporting evidence of weight-loss benefits for participants who received six to eight hours of sleep nightly. However, researchers also concluded that adults who slept fewer than six hours per night and more than eight hours per night gained more weight than those who got the recommended amount of sleep each night. Staying in bed all day may keep you from eating but enough is enough.

The sleep researchers did determine that the most significant weight gain occurred in those individuals whose diet was filled with high-fat, sugary foods (like we've never heard that before). Potato chips, processed foods and high-sugar content beverages were common culprits for those who gained weight. Conversely, those who consumed a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts were able to better manage their weight. In order to set yourself up for success, treat yourself like a child. Power down at night with a set time to forgo using computers or watching TV. Never watch TV in bed and schedule any exhilarating late-day exercise at least four hours before "lights out". 

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