In a new study, researchers found that short sleep duration and high sleep variability may lead to difficulties in losing weight and body fat.
It is the first study to examine whether the quality of sleep is related to weight loss and a reduction in fat tissue in the body.
The research was conducted by a team from the Human Nutrition Unit of the Rovira i Virgili University in Spain.
In the new study, the researchers assessed the changes in weight and body fat in 1,986 individuals. All of the people were overweight or obese and had metabolic syndrome.
These people took part in the study for a whole year. They followed an intensive lifestyle intervention program designed for weight loss.
The program was based on a low-calorie Mediterranean diet, physical activity, and behavior therapy.
The team found that the people with highly variable sleep patterns—those who did not sleep the same number of hours every night—at the beginning of the study lost less weight after a follow-up period of 12 months.
In addition, high sleep variability and sleeping less than six hours a day was linked to a lower decrease in BMI and waist circumference.
These results show that having an appropriate sleep pattern may help maintain a healthy weight and prevent other metabolic disorders linked to excess body fat.
The team says that the less variability in sleep duration or adequate sleep duration, the greater the success of the lifestyle interventions in weight loss.
The lead author of the study is Christopher Papandreou.
The study is published in the International Journal of Obesity.
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