The Vital Importance of Sleep on Exercise and Diet Goals

The Vital Importance of Sleep on Exercise and Diet Goals

Committing to a diet and exercise regimen can be very difficult, however there are some lifestyle modifications that can help with this process.  According to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association‘s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2023, people who achieve regular, uninterrupted sleep, do better committing to their exercise and diet plans while trying to lose weight.

Sleep Health and Weight Loss

The researchers examined whether good sleep health was related to how well people adhered to the various lifestyle modifications prescribed in a 12-month weight loss program. The weight-loss program included 125 adults. The study included people classified as overweight or obese and without any medical conditions requiring medical supervision of their diet or physical activity. Sleep habits were measured at the beginning of the program, at 6 months and again at 12 months, through patient questionnaires, a sleep diary and 7-day readings from a wrist-worn device that recorded sleep, waking activity and rest. Adherence to the weight loss program was measured by percentage of group intervention sessions attended; percentage of days in which each participant ate between 85-115% of their recommended daily calories; and change in daily duration of moderate or vigorous physical activity.

Results showed that that better sleep health was associated with higher rates of attendance at group sessions, adherence to caloric intake goals, and improvement in time spent performing moderate-vigorous physical activity. There was a decrease in group session attendance and in time spent in moderate-vigorous activity, and in increase in caloric intake in the second six months which was expected. Typically as one continues in a long-term behavioral weight loss intervention, it is normal for the adherence to weight loss behaviors to decrease.  One of the limitations of the study was that the researchers did not intervene on sleep health, however, these results suggest that optimizing sleep may lead to better lifestyle modification adherence.

How Sleep Assists in Weight Loss

According to the 2023 Statistical Update from the American Heart Association, Cardiovascular disease claims more lives each year in the U.S. than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined. Improving sleep health is a big component of improving one’s cardiovascular health and is a key component of the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8. Sleep was added in 2022 as the eighth component of optimal cardiovascular health. The other components include eating healthy food, being physically active, not smoking, getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy weight and controlling cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. There are numerous studies linking sleep to weight gain and obesity, but this study showed how it is not just tied to weight itself, but it is also tied to the behaviors one has to help them manage weight.

If you have questions about your metabolism, weight loss, or your sleep, be sure to ask your medical provider or a behavioral health educator. They are the best resource to help you understand why your body responds the way it does. Our team is here to assist you in any way we can on your journey to Keeping It Off!

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