Weight Loss Study Reveals Results Seen With More Sleep, Lower Stress
New information from a Kaiser Permanente study supports the idea that stress is a large contributor to excess body weight. Controlling stress levels is key to losing weight says the study, as well as getting at least six hours of sleep each night. These two factors help patients that were trying to lose over 10 pounds achieve their goals. The study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institute of Health.
500 patients from the Pacific Northwest had their sleep and stress levels measured, as well as feelings of depression and amounts of television and computer use. While other studies showed correlations between all of these factors and weight gain, there is little research on how they affect active attempts at weight loss.
Taking active steps to reduce daily stress and sticking to a regular sleep schedule helped patients lose weight regardless of the methods they chose. Some patients cut unnessecary activities out of their schedules to lower stress and have more time for sleep. Others used meditation and other stress relief practices.
Only phase one of the study has been analyzed. During this section, participants tracked life factors and tried to lose at least 10 pounds in six months. Those that accomplished that goal moved on to the part two. Complementary acupressure was administered to a group of participants to determine its effect on weight loss. The results from this section will be available soon.
Participants all visited weekly with support teams who weighed them, advised them on health diet choices and encouraged exercise. Patients who were told to keep food diaries lost more weight and attended meetings more regularly. Depression and television watching didn’t seem to affect weight loss, but high stress and little sleep did. The best weight loss occurred for patients who slept at least six hours a night, but less than 9 hours at a time.