People who reported getting regular, uninterrupted sleep did a better job sticking to their exercise and diet plans while trying to lose weight, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2023. The meeting, held in Boston from February 28 to March 3, 2023, showcased the latest science on population-based health and wellness and its implications for lifestyle and cardiometabolic health.
Sleep Better to Live Better: Christopher E. Kline, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh, emphasized the importance of obtaining good sleep as a behavior that helps people adhere to their physical activity and dietary modification goals. Previous studies have shown a significant association between better sleep health and greater weight and fat loss in a year-long weight loss program.
Research Details: The researchers examined the relationship between sleep health and adherence to lifestyle modifications in a 12-month weight loss program. The study involved 125 adults who were overweight or obese, without any medical conditions requiring supervision of their diet or physical activity. Sleep habits were measured using questionnaires, sleep diaries, and wrist-worn devices recording sleep patterns and activity levels.
Participants with better sleep health scores showed higher rates of attendance at group intervention sessions, adherence to caloric intake goals, and improvement in moderate-vigorous physical activity. While the association between sleep health and physical activity increase was not statistically significant, the findings suggest that optimizing sleep may lead to better adherence to lifestyle modifications.
Study Limitation: The study had limitations, including the lack of intervention to improve sleep, a sample population primarily composed of white and female participants, and the absence of recruitment based on sleep health characteristics. However, the results highlight the potential of sleep optimization to enhance adherence to lifestyle modifications and weight loss.
Improving sleep health is a crucial component of the American Heart Association's Life's Essential 8, which focuses on achieving optimal cardiovascular health. Sleep quality plays a significant role in several aspects of our well-being, including hunger and cravings, metabolism regulation, and the ability to make healthy choices. When we prioritize enhancing our sleep, we open doors to other avenues of health and well-being.
The Impact: Sleep directly affects our hunger and cravings by impacting the hormones that regulate appetite. Inadequate sleep can disrupt these hormones, leading to increased appetite and a preference for unhealthy food choices. Furthermore, quality sleep promotes proper metabolism regulation, helping our bodies efficiently process nutrients and maintain a healthy weight.
In addition to its physiological effects, sleep health also influences our cognitive and behavioral aspects. By getting sufficient and restful sleep, we improve our decision-making abilities, impulse control, and overall mental well-being.
Recognizing the interconnectedness of various factors in our health, including sleep, underscores the importance of prioritizing and enhancing our sleep habits. By doing so, we can pave the way for better overall health and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.