Study: Want to Drop a Few Pounds? Lie in Bed

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Next time your alarm clock sounds, you can hit the snooze button in good conscience: sleeping in may help you lose fat.A study released Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine compared two groups of people who were trying to lose weight. One was randomly assigned to sleep 5.5 hours each night for two weeks, while the other was able to sleep 8.5 hours. The study found that the sleep-deprived group had higher levels of ghrelin — a hormone that drives appetite. The New York Times reports:

“The bottom line is that if people are trying to diet and lose weight for health reasons, it makes sense to get a sufficient amount of sleep,” said Dr. Plamen D. Penev, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and the senior author of the study. “If they’re not getting enough sleep as they diet, they may have higher levels of hunger and be struggling to adhere to the regimen.”

Both groups lost about 6.5 lbs. over the course of the experiment, but the well-rested group lost more of the weight from fat, not muscle. (More on See a special report on overcoming obesity)

Of note: the participants had to spend their nightly assigned sleep hours in bed, but not necessarily sleeping. Resting, it turns out, worked just as well.

The study had an insignificant sample size (just 10 adults), but the results were significant enough to warrant further investigation.

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