We recently received this inquiry from one of our customers:
Q: I’m looking for simple lifestyle changes I can make to help me lose my extra “pandemic” pounds. Do you have any suggestions?– Monica R.
Dr. Dave Answers:
Yes! By just adding one hour of sleep per night and changing no other variable, you can lose up to 14 pounds over the next year. That’s pretty cool.
Short sleep duration has been recognized as a risk factor for obesity. A study published earlier this year in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine assessed the effect sleep extension might have on adults who were both overweight and habitually sleep less than 6.5 hours per night. The findings suggest that improving and maintaining adequate sleep can reduce weight.
Study participants extended their bedtime to 8.5 hours of sleep but made no other changes to their daily routines, including diet and exercise. In a two-week period, participants averaged a weight loss of nearly two pounds.
According to the study’s authors, maintaining this simple sleep adjustment over a three-year period could result in a weight loss of 26-pounds.
The theory at work here is that sleep can affect our brain hormones, which trigger hunger, satiety, and our general behavior.
Another concern is that sleep deprivation causes inflammation which in turn is associated with obesity, diabetes, and early cognitive decline. Adding one hour of sleep reduces inflammation and thereby improves many health parameters, including weight. At Integrative Psychiatry, “right-sizing inflammation” is one of our recurring and enduring treatment objectives (along with sealing and healing a leaky gut, bolstering tired adrenals, balancing hormones and neurotransmitters, and supporting detoxification pathways).
For help maintaining a good night’s sleep, consider these 13 Tips for a Great Night’s Sleep.