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Health Fusion: Getting more sleep may help you lose weight

Want to lose some weight? Get more sleep. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams checks out a study that shows sleeping more helps you reduce calorie intake without trying.

Young woman sleeping in bed
More sleep may help with weight loss
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ROCHESTER — Research shows that adequate sleep helps you feel better, look better and think better. Now you can add losing weight to that list.

A study by researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that young, overweight adults who increased their sleep time from 6.5 hours per night to about 8 hours a night, ate 270 fewer calories during the day. And they did so without purposely restricting or logging what they ate.

“Over the years, we and others have shown that sleep restriction has an effect on appetite regulation that leads to increased food intake, and thus puts you at risk for weight gain over time,” says Dr. Esra Tasali, Director of the UChicago Sleep Center at the University of Chicago Medicine. “More recently, the question that everyone was asking was, ‘Well, if this is what happens with sleep loss, can we extend sleep and reverse some of these adverse outcomes?”

It seems, that the answer could be yes.

In addition to the fact that the people in the study didn't try to cut calories, they also didn't have to go to a sleep center at night. After a counseling session about how to get better sleep, the people in the study slept in their own beds, tracked sleep with wearable devices and spent their days like they normally do — no additional diets or exercise.


The researchers want to figure out more about how getting more sleep helps weight loss. And they hope their work leads to larger studies on weight control to determine if extending sleep can support weight-loss programs and help prevent or reverse obesity.

The research is published in JAMA Internal Medicine.


Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com . Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

The aftermath of reports of active shooters at several Minnesota schools has increased anxiety levels for some students and parents. Even though the situation was a hoax, people worry about the real thing. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams talks to the director of clinical services at Zumbro Valley Health Center about how parents can help their kids cope.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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