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Lack of Sleep Can Kill Your Dieting Efforts?

A number of novel findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies the week of June 14th, 2009 in Seattle.

One of the main studies unveiled was presented by Dr. Plamen Penev, from the University of Chicago.  The study found that failure to get a full night's sleep (approximately 8 hours) can lead to weight gain and cancel out the benefits of dieting.

The study included nine overweight volunteers with an average age of 40.

The volunteers completed two separate 14 day trials conducted 3 months apart.

For both trials, the researchers had the participants consume a nutritionally balanced diet containing calories up to 90% of their resting metabolic rate.

The participants were told to stay in bed 5.5 hours a night for the first trial and 8.5 hours per night for the second trial.

The weight loss during each trial was similar; 6.4 pounds for the 5.5 hour trial and 6.6 pounds for the 8.5 hour trial.  However, the amount of weight loss from fat was drastically different, with 26% of the weight loss from fat during periods of sleep restriction compared with 57% from fat during regular sleep.

This indicates an extreme increase in loss of lean body mass when sleep is restricted.  The goal of most dieters is to lose as much fat as possible, rather than lean body mass.

The researchers note that lack of sleep can become counterproductive when trying to lose weight.

Lack of sleep has many other negative effects on the mind and body including increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, increased stroke risk, increased risk of depression and a general decrease in alertness.

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