Researchers find a key factor in making it easier to stick to exercise and diet goals

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Preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s 2023 Scientific Sessions on Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle, and Cardiometabolic Health suggests that people who reported getting regular, uninterrupted sleep were more successful in sticking to their plans exercise and diet while trying to lose weight.

  • People who had higher scores for sleep health — based on regularity, satisfaction, alertness, timing, efficiency, and duration — during a sleep loss program 12-month-olds were more likely to follow the calorie intake and exercise components of the program compared to their peers who scored lower on sleep health.
  • People with better sleep health attended more group sessions of the program.

According to a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2023 Scientific Sessions on Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle, and Cardiometabolic Health, people who reported getting regular, uninterrupted sleep were better at following their sleep plans. exercise and diet while trying to lose weight. held in Boston and presented the latest scientific knowledge on population health and wellness and the implications for lifestyle and cardiometabolic health.

“Focusing on getting a good night’s sleep – seven to nine hours a night with a regular waking time as well as waking up rested and alert throughout the day – can be an important behavior that helps people stick to their physical activity and dietary modification goals,” Christopher said. E. Kline, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Development at the University of Pittsburgh. “One of our previous studies reported that better sleep health was associated with significantly greater body weight and fat loss among participants in a one-year behavioral weight loss program.”

Researchers examined whether good sleep health was related to how well people adhered to various lifestyle changes prescribed in a 12-month weight loss program. The weight loss program included 125 adults (mean age 50, 91% female, 81% Caucasian) who met criteria for being overweight or obese (body mass index 27-44) with no medical condition requiring medical supervision of their diet or physical activity.

Sleep patterns were measured at the start of the program, at 6 months, and at 12 months using patient questionnaires, a sleep diary, and 7-day readings from a body-worn device. wrist that recorded sleep, waking activity and rest. These measurements were used to rate each participant as “good” or “poor” on six measures of sleep: regularity; satisfaction; vigilance; Hourly; efficiency (the percentage of time spent in bed while actually sleeping); and duration. A composite sleep health score from 0 to 6 was calculated for each participant, with one point for each “good” measure of sleep health, with higher scores indicating better levels of sleep health.

Adherence to the weight loss program was measured by the percentage of group intervention sessions attended; percentage of days each participant ate between 85 and 115 percent of their recommended daily calories; and modification of the daily duration of moderate or vigorous physical activity. Participants had an average sleep health score of 4.5 out of 6 at the start of the study, at 6 months and at 12 months. Participants self-reported their calorie intake each day using a phone app, and researchers measured participants’ physical activity with a waist-worn accelerometer for one week at a time at the start of the study. , at 6 months and at 12 months.

After adjusting sleep health scores for age, gender, race, and whether or not there was a bed-sharing partner, the researchers found that better sleep health was associated with higher rates of participation in group interval sessions, meeting calorie intake goals, and improvement. in time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity. They found:

  • Participants attended 79% of group sessions in the first six months and 62% of group sessions in the following six months.
  • Participants met their daily calorie intake goals 36% of the days in the first six months and 21% in the next six months.
  • Participants increased their total daily time spent in moderate-to-vigorous activity by 8.7 minutes over the first six months, but their total time decreased by 3.7 minutes over the next six months.

The decrease in group session attendance, calorie intake and time spent in moderate-to-vigorous activity over the past six months was expected, Kline said. “As one continues a long-term behavioral weight loss intervention, it is normal for adherence to weight loss behaviors to decline,” he said.

Additionally, while there was an association between better sleep health scores and increased physical activity, it was not strong enough to be statistically significant, meaning the researchers cannot rule out that the results are due to chance.

“We hypothesized that sleep would be associated with a change in lifestyle; however, we did not expect to see an association between sleep health and all three of our lifestyle modification measures,” he said. “Although we did not intervene with sleep health in this study, these results suggest that sleep optimization may lead to better adherence to lifestyle modifications.”

Limitations of the study include that it did not incorporate any interventions to help participants improve their sleep, the study sample was not recruited based on participants’ sleep health characteristics and that the overall sample population had relatively good sleep health at baseline. The sample was also predominantly white and female, so it is unclear whether these findings are generalizable to more diverse populations.

“An interesting question for future research is whether we can increase adherence to lifestyle changes – and ultimately increase weight loss – if we improve a person’s sleep health” , Kline said.

A second question for researchers is how such an intervention would be timed to improve sleep.

“It remains unclear whether it would be better to optimize sleep before rather than during the weight loss attempt. In other words, should clinicians tell their patients to focus on better sleep and more regularly before they start trying to lose weight, or should they try to improve their sleep while changing their diet and activity levels?” says Kline.

Improving sleep health is something everyone can do to improve their cardiovascular health and is a key part of the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8. Sleep was added in 2022 as the eighth element of optimal cardiovascular health, which includes eating healthy foods, being physically active, not smoking, getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, and controlling cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood sugar. blood pressure. Cardiovascular disease claims more lives in the United States each year than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined, according to the American Heart Association’s 2023 statistical update.

“There are over 100 studies linking sleep to weight gain and obesity, but this was a great example of how sleep isn’t just related to weight itself, it’s related to things we do to help manage our own weight.This could be because sleep impacts the things that cause hunger and cravings, your metabolism and your ability to regulate metabolism and the ability to make overall healthy choices,” said Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D., MTR. Grandner is director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, director of the Behavioral Medicine Clinic at sleep at Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, and was co-author of the Association’s Life’s Essential 8 Cardiovascular Health Score.” Studies like this really show that all of these things are connected, and sometimes sleep is the thing on which the we can begin to take control of and that can help open doors to other pathways to health.”

Co-authors are Christopher C. Imes, Ph.D., RN; Susan M. Sereika, Ph.D.; Daniel J. Buysse, MD; Bonny Rockette-Wagner, Ph.D.; Zhadyra Bizhanova, Ph.D.; and Lora E. Burke, Ph.D., MPH Author disclosures are listed in the abstract.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, funded the study.

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