Lack of sleep undermines diets

I’m trying a new strategy to lose weight: Get more sleep.

After early success at the dropping the 25 pounds to 30 pounds that I pledged to lose last New Year’s Eve, I’m stuck at 12 pounds down and frustrated that I can’t break through the 180-pound mark.

Now a small study in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests why I have had so much trouble losing weight. “Lack of sufficient sleep may compromise the efficacy of typical dietary interventions for weight loss,” concludes the National Institutes of Health-funded study by researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The researchers tracked 10 overweight, but not obese people (3 women and 7 men) aged between 35 and 49 during a two-week period when they reduced their caloric consumption by a moderate amount. The participants were split into two groups, one of which was able to get 8.5 hours of sleep a night and the other just 5.5 hours.

The result: Sleep curtailment decreased the proportion of weight loss as fat by 55 percent.

“The amount of human sleep contributes to the maintenance of fat-free body mass at times of decreased energy intake,” the researchers concluded in the study published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

So, since my young children are at a stage where they apparently aren’t able to allow me to get a solid 8 hours when I go to bed at a normal adult time, my wife and I have decided to try to get to bed by 10 every night this week. We hope it will become a habit and maybe it will help me shed those extra few pounds and actually keep my 2010 New Year’s resolution.

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