Sleeping more reduces caloric intake, a

Understanding the underlying causes of obesity and how to prevent it is the best way to fight the obesity epidemic, according to Esra Tasali, MD, director of the University of Chicago Medicine’s UChicago Sleep Center. “The current obesity epidemic, experts say, is driven primarily by increased calorie intake, rather than a lack of exercise,” she said.

Now, a new study of how getting enough sleep affects calorie intake in a real-world setting could change the way we think about weight loss.

In a randomized clinical trial with 80 adults, published February 7 in JAMA internal medicine, Tasali and colleagues from UChicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that overweight young adults who usually slept less than 6.5 hours per night were able to increase their sleep duration by an average of 1.2 hours. per night after a personalized sleep hygiene counseling session. . The sleep intervention aimed to prolong bed duration to 8.5 hours – and increasing sleep duration compared to controls also reduced participants’ overall calorie intake by an average of 270 kcal ( calories) per day.

“Over the years, we and others have shown that sleep restriction has an effect on appetite regulation, which leads to increased food intake and puts you at risk for weight gain. over time,” Tasali said. “More recently, the question everyone was asking was, ‘Well, if this is what’s happening with sleep loss, can we prolong sleep and reverse some of these adverse effects?’

The new study not only examines the effects of prolonged sleep on calorie intake, but, importantly, does so in a real-world setting, without manipulation or control of participants’ eating habits. Participants slept in their own beds, tracked their sleep with wearable devices, and otherwise followed their normal lifestyle without any instructions on diet or exercise.

“Most other studies on this topic in the lab are short-term, lasting a few days, and food intake is measured by how much participants consume from a proposed diet,” Tasali said. “In our study, we only manipulated sleep and asked participants to eat whatever they wanted, with no food journaling or anything else to track their nutrition on their own.”

Instead, to objectively track participants’ caloric intake, investigators relied on the “double-labeled water” method and changing energy stores. This urine-based test involves a person drinking water in which the hydrogen and oxygen atoms have been replaced with less common, but natural, stable isotopes that are easy to trace. The use of this technique in humans was pioneered by the study’s lead author, Dale A. Schoeller, PhD, professor emeritus of nutritional sciences at UW-Madison. “This is considered the gold standard for objectively measuring daily energy expenditure in a real, non-laboratory environment and it has changed the way human obesity is studied,” Schoeller said.

Overall, people who increased their sleep duration were able to reduce their caloric intake by an average of 270 kcal per day – which would translate to a weight loss of around 12 kg or 26 lbs over three years if the effects were maintained over a long period of time.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the study was the simplicity of the intervention. “We saw that after a single sleep counseling session, participants could change their bedtime habits enough to lead to increased sleep duration,” Tasali said. “We simply coached each individual on good sleep hygiene and discussed their own personal sleep environment, providing personalized advice on changes they could make to improve their sleep duration. Importantly, to blind participants to the sleep intervention, the recruitment materials did not mention the sleep intervention, allowing us to capture true habitual sleep patterns at baseline.

Although the study did not systematically assess factors that may have influenced sleep behavior, “limiting electronic device use before bedtime emerged as a key intervention,” Tasali said.

After just one counseling session, participants increased their average sleep time by more than an hour per night. Although they didn’t prescribe any other lifestyle changes, most participants saw their diets drop significantly, with some participants consuming up to 500 fewer calories per day.

Subjects were only involved in the study for a total of four weeks, with two weeks to collect baseline information on sleep and calorie intake, followed by two weeks to monitor the effects of the intervention on the sleep.

“It wasn’t a weight loss study,” Tasali said. “But even in just two weeks, we have quantified evidence showing decreased calorie intake and negative energy balance – calorie intake is less than calories burned. If healthy sleep patterns are maintained over a longer period of time , this would lead to clinically significant weight loss over time.Many people work hard to find ways to reduce their calorie intake to lose weight – well, just by getting more sleep you might be able to reduce it significantly.

Ultimately, Tasali and his team hope to examine the underlying mechanisms that may explain these findings, and believe this work should spur new, larger weight control studies to determine if sleep prolongation can support the weight loss programs and help prevent or reverse obesity.

“In our previous work, we understood that sleep is important for appetite regulation,” Tasali said. “Now we’ve shown that in real life, without making other lifestyle changes, you can get more sleep and eat fewer calories. This could really help people who are trying to lose weight.

The study, “Effect of Sleep Extension on Objectively Assessed Energy Intake Among Adults with Overweight in Real-Life Settings,” was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Diabetes Research and Training Center at UChicago (R01DK100426, CTSA-UL1 TR0002389 , and ULTR002389). Other authors include Kristen Wroblewski, Eva Kahn and Jennifer Kilkus from UChicago and Dale A. Schoeller from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


About University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences

The Medical University of Chicago, whose history dates back to 1927, is one of the nation’s leading academic healthcare systems. It brings together the missions of the University of Chicago Medical Center, the Pritzker School of Medicine and the Biological Sciences Division. Twelve winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine have been affiliated with the Medical University of Chicago. Its main Hyde Park campus is home to the Center for Care and Discovery, Bernard Mitchell Hospital, Comer Children’s Hospital and the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine. It also has outpatient facilities in Orland Park, South Loop, Homewood and River East as well as affiliations and partnerships that create a regional network of care. UChicago Medicine offers a full range of specialty care services for adults and children at more than 40 institutes and centers, including an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Together with Harvey-based Ingalls Memorial, UChicago Medicine has 1,296 licensed beds, nearly 1,300 attending physicians, more than 2,800 nurses, and approximately 970 residents and fellows.

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