October 4th, 2010
05:01 PM ET

Sleep more, lose weight, says study

Are you trying your best to eat right and exercise, but still not losing weight? One study suggests that lack of sleep could throw off a diet.

Research from the University of Chicago showed that dieters who slept for 8.5 hours lost 55 percent more body fat than dieters who slept 5.5 hours.

"Lack of sufficient sleep may compromise the efficacy of typical dietary interventions for weight loss and related metabolic risk reduction,” the study authors concluded in an article released Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a journal of the American College of Physicians.

Not having enough sleep could affect a hormone called ghrelin, known to affect appetite and weight. An increase in this hormone level has been shown to make people hungrier and cause higher fat retention.

The dieters who slept less reported feeling hungrier throughout the course of the study.

The study had a small sample size – 10 sedentary nonsmokers, between the ages of 35 to 49 years with a body mass index considered overweight to obese (BMI 25-32), who stayed in what’s considered a closed study environment for two weeks.

Calculate your BMI here.

They ate the same diet, consumed multivitamins and performed the same type of work or leisure activities. Six of them were assigned to 8.5 hours of sleep, and four slept 5.5 hours. Those who slept more lost more fat and maintained fat-free body mass.

"Together, these results suggest that the loss of sleep at times of limited food intake amplifies the pattern of ghrelin-associated changes in human hunger, glucose and fat utilization, and energy metabolism," the study authors wrote.

soundoff (439 Responses)
  1. Gina

    8.5+ hours? Are you kidding me? I'd have to go to bed at 9:30. Not gonna happen.

    October 5, 2010 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Howard

      Then face the health consequences of not budgeting your time.

      October 5, 2010 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • SuperChunk

      Enjoy your shortened, prematurely aged, and potentially heavier life.

      Really, tons of responsible people go to bed by 9:30 to get enough sleep, if they have to get up early. Not sure what you're doing that it's impossible to got to bed by 9:30 on a regular basis, but you might want to ask if it's going to be worth it in the long run.

      October 5, 2010 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Howard and SuperChunk: Ever heard of working a second job? Caring for elderly parents? Raising kids who have behavior problems? Carrying a full-time course load in school? Clinical insomnia? All reasons a person might not be able to get to bed at 9:30 every night–and none of them having to do with being irresponsible or unable to budget time. You both seem to think that everyone who stays up late makes the choice to do so in order to watch television shows and stuff their faces.

      October 5, 2010 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
    • Prudence

      Ok fatty pants. Only kidding. I feel your pain.

      October 5, 2010 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
    • kanon

      Howard and SuperChunk obviously haven no grasp on reality.

      October 5, 2010 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
    • Fig1024

      No, Howard and SuperChunk are just lucky, because for them it is reality. It may be hard to believe, but some people actually have time to sleep 9 hours and have enough money for comfortable life. A lot depends on your luck of being born to the right kind of parents.

      October 5, 2010 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Yeah, no grasp on reality. Someone got me. Although somehow I was able to lose about 100 lbs while working full time and going to school full time and raising a family. And yet I am not a celebrity nor am I rich.

      Yeah, no grasp on reality. All I was saying was that it can be done but no one was willing to do the work for me. I had to do it myself and what the real key was, was making the time no matter what life threw at me.

      October 5, 2010 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      @ Liz – I hear you. Do you hear you? Working 2 jobs, caring for elderly parents, kids with behavior problems, clinical insomnia. If you are describing all of these things because they are personal to you, it may be time to try to step back a little and ask yourself who are you really doing any good for? Are your kids not getting the proper nutrition because you are working a second job? Do you have insomnia because you are stretching yourself too thin and maybe the brain can't turn off at night because your plate is too full (too much to process)? I'm not judging, I'm just using your own examples to see if we can make a connection. But the bottom line is, you have a giant workload, look at what it is doing to you, your kids, your parents. Are you really doing what's best for anyone or could a shift in priorities help? Maybe a less than full school-load? It seems like you are trying to educate yourself so maybe you don't have to work 2 jobs, maybe you can get a better one and you should be proud of that. But just remember to try to make some time each day for you, even if it is just 30 minutes. Working on your health will set a good example for your kids. Get them involved. Maybe a little more time with them doing a physical activity together can help with their behavior issues? Maybe it's at the root of it?

      Not a psychologist or anything. I'm really just trying to help. You seem like you are drowning and I hope you correct the ship before you regret it.

      October 5, 2010 at 14:54 | Report abuse |
    • Billshut

      Don't feel bad, Gina. I'd have to be asleep by 8PM, and usually don't get home before 4PM. Yay for 4 whole hours of my own!!
      I usually shoot for 9PM, and oftentimes don't get to bed before 9:30. Then again, any more than about 7 hours of sleep is too much for me anyways. Anyone who makes a blanket statement that everyone will benefit from 8.5 hours per night is not accounting for the fact that some people survive quite well on less sleep, some require more.

      October 5, 2010 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • MattEsq

      Anyone talking about having 2 jobs, raising kids with special needs, insomnia, etc. is missing the point. Americans today CHOOSE to have 2 jobs, choose to have kids, choose to buy cars/homes/etc. they can't afford.

      I make more than 99% of Americans yet I rent b/c I can't afford a home (after you people drove up prices to high hell with mortgages you couldn't afford) and have made the conscious decision NOT to have kids yet b/c I can't afford them. And yes, I am not obese and I get close to 8.5 hours a sleep a night. Decisions, indeed.

      October 5, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • Bregan

      working two jobs... for what? So you can afford a car because our public transportation in this country SUCKS, and because there are no sidewalks to walk anywhere?

      October 5, 2010 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
    • MattEsq

      The only reason people work two jobs or have both spouses working is b/c they have set a standard of living for themselves that requires it. The worst part is that it's a self-fulfilling prophesy: everyone got a second or third job in order to make enough money to keep up with the Jones', and then the Jones' got a second or third job to keep up with you, and you both ended up bidding up the price of housing, etc. such that now we all have to pay more for the same things.

      October 5, 2010 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
    • Michael Daily

      You 9:30 people, you'll have to live 25-30% longer to make up all the extra time you spent sleeping! Moderation is usually the best solution.

      October 5, 2010 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      @Mattesq: if you really make more than 99% of americans, you would be able to afford a home considering all of the opportunity out there. So basically you make $100k + and still are a renter? i smell BS.

      October 5, 2010 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      @99% of us are NOT HEALTHY!
      Hi there to you too. Not so sure I can understand you since obviously you are the only one that has to deal with pain. All of my weightloss came absolutely pain free. Yep, my entire life was pain free too. Poor you. Too bad you again miss the point. When I was at my biggest, I was nearly 300lbs. As I started on my weight loss journey, obstacles were put in my path just liek everyone else. I started playing racquetball because it was something I did when younger and fitter. Within 2 months I blew out 2 discs, had to have back surgery and learn to walk all over again. To this day, I have nerve damage in my left foot and leg that will never go away. I have 2 vertebre that no longer have the cushion the discs provided so that area is inflamed frequently. Did I let that stop me? I could have, but it didn't. When I told my neurosurgeon about how I injured it and I was trying to lose weight, he said I'd never play racquetball again. His words "you're going to be lucky to walk normally again." At that moment I decided that he was wrong. It took me a few years but last year, I actually won a tournament. Later this month, I go back to the same one to defend my title.
      You can think of all the excuses you want, bash me all you want, assume I had it easier, you have it rougher and all it'll get you is more of the same of what you already have. I know it's easier to make excuses, I lived that life. It's how I got to 300 lbs in the first place. Most of my comments today have been with the intent to inspire. I get the hatred, I lived it. It's much easier than the actual work you have to do to accomplish a goal. So much easier getting fat and unhealthy. The strong persevere and you are stronger than you are allowing yourself to be.

      Good luck.

      October 5, 2010 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
    • DBINVA

      @MattEsq–You forgot about those who have to take care of elderly parents. And of those who choose to have kids, I doubt many, if any, say "gee, I think I'll have a child with special needs".

      October 5, 2010 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
    • Katz

      However what this article isn't saying is that too much sleep can cause weight gain too =P

      October 5, 2010 at 18:39 | Report abuse |
    • Kei

      In response to all of these people arguing about this study... seriously... this is a recommendation. This is not something you HAVE to do. If you can't sleep 8.5 hours each night, that is your own thing. This article is not requiring you to sleep this much. This article is not lecturing you about not sleeping this much. It is simply stating that if you sleep more, you tend to lose more weight.

      For me, I would need to go to bed at 8:00pm to get that much sleep. Sometimes I do not even get home until 7:30pm between working a full-time job and going to school for my Master's on separate sides of the county. If I really wanted to, I could move closer to work and cut my drive down or drop out of school. I could skip my nightly exercises or ignore dinner for my sleep. But hey, I accept that my decisions, whether good or bad, have some consequences and hopefully all will work out in the long run.

      October 6, 2010 at 07:42 | Report abuse |
    • Ash

      @Howard, I've been reading a lot of your responses, in between other comments. You indeed sir, are a winner, and I fully believe everything you say. It is a choice.

      I'm really young, age 21, and I just started working my first full-time job after graduating college. While yes, it's great to be working, (and I understand I might be 'luckier' in this respect and this particular situation doesn't necessarily qualify as a hardship in comparison to others, but I'm using it as an example).

      I have to drive almost 2 hours every day (not including the drive home) to get to work. Commuting to DC sucks! But I'm not paying rent, since I live with my parents out in Manassas.

      So I endured being angry and upset for weeks, upset at how I was wasting my time in traffic, the commute was really hard getting used to sitting in that car for hours... until I broke down crying in front of my dad. He shook his head (he'd been making this commute for years), and said to me, "Ashley, you CHOOSE to be angry and upset about it."

      It's true, in every respect, these are the decisions I made. It was my choice to stay living out here, and commute. I chose not to take public transportation because it's much more expensive. I chose not to live in an apartment in DC because, again, less expensive. I must endure the stress of the commute. But again, stressing about the choice I made, that in itself is another choice I make.

      Now, I drive to work, listen to morning radio stations and laugh and sing on the way to work.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
    • steve

      well then ur going to be one fat person.

      October 7, 2010 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
    • victoria

      yes, gina your right.

      October 10, 2010 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
  2. John

    When I don't get enough sleep, I find I eat more to compensate for my low energy level. I make an effort to get at least 7 hrs sleep a night, and more on weekends. It has definitely made maintaining good eating and exercise habits alot easier.

    Oh and I am less tired – duh.

    October 5, 2010 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. sunny

    Someone has to come up with a practical solution. 8.5 hours sleep, five to six meals, one hour workout, half hour meditation, writing the journal on your thoughts, cooking your own meals, three time green tea. This is a full time job. Can't do it, unless, you are born rich.

    October 5, 2010 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joyce

      too true!

      Can't stand all those "entertainment" magazines with the rich movie stars crowing about how they lost 20 lbs. If the rest of us had nothing else to do, a personal trainer, nannies, dietician, and personal chef, we could do it too... Or even more ridiculous is when they are being paid by Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers to lose weight (i.e. they have no other job except to get into shape)...

      October 5, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Not a full time job, but a lifestyle change. And the only thing stopping you is you. Once you really understand that, the rest is easy.

      October 5, 2010 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Let me help you a bit. The 5-6 meals don't take much time if you make them ahead of time (in bulk) and reheat or use when needed. You can cut down your 1 hour workout by doing HIIT training (look it up). Green tea takes time out of your day? Are you growing it?

      There's a start...or you can continue to let your excuses hold you back.

      October 5, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
    • mbluesky

      You are correct. I'm 52 and I've lost 30 pounds in the last 3 months, by eating high fiber, high protein, high fruits & veggies, some fish, lower carbs and almost zero poultry or red meat. I've cooked for myself. I rollerblade 8 miles every day. I feel great, but I have to confess I don't know how a person with a full-time job and family responsibilities could do it. It takes a ton of time. My husband has been able to lose weight too, but he has me at home fixing him these healthy meals and taking care of our house. Maybe it's time to reassess how we choose to live.

      October 5, 2010 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
    • LadyDae

      @Howard...raising children and working full time while you're spouting out holier than thou lifestyle changes? Let me help you a bit...get real or at least get a realistic view of the world without your rose colored glasses

      October 5, 2010 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
    • LW

      One place to get back some hours is to cut back on TV. I'm guessing a lot of Americans don't realize how much time they spend watching.

      October 5, 2010 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      @Lady, see my other post. I did this WHILE raising a family, working full time AND going to school to finish my bachelors degree.

      Wasn't intending to be "holier than thou" but was shooting more for a "if I can do it, you can too" response. Maybe I didn't express my sympathies enough but for me, when I finally got out of my own way (by stopping the hopeless excuses) is when I finally started on my journey. 100lbs doesn't lie.

      October 5, 2010 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
    • Ingrid

      Get bent Howard. You are so oblivious to what the rest of the planet is going on its sickening.

      I was shot in Iraq and have severe chronic pain episodes. It is nearly impossible for me to exersize. I cry every week because the pain is so unbearable. I do all my food shopping at Whole Foods and eat exceptionally well. I practically KILL myself trying to exersize in excrutiating pain so it makes it difficult to lose weight. MANY MANY people are in the same boat as me. They have chronic pain conditions that are not improving no matter what you do. So don;t you dare lecture me or anyone else on what they should be doing in your narrow-minded self absorbed little world you douchebag.

      October 5, 2010 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      HIIT shows a lot of promise but there is very little independent verification by neutral parties. I was also not able to find anything on the impact it has on over weight, out of shape people or type 2 diabetics. It has been shown to have insulin regulating affects in healthy young men but no similar research was done on anyone else. I already do interval training and a fair number of personal trainers doubt the benefit of HIIT. I'll wait until there is a bit more info before I make a major change to my cardio workout.

      October 5, 2010 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
    • HLO

      Howard, good for you on your weight loss. The only people giving you grief here are the people living with excuses. Whoever has the chronic pain, this just in: I too have chronic pain. I lost 50 lbs last year and am now at a healthy, natural weight. How? Eating proper portions and doing yoga, including on the days I have physical therapy (which is weekly). I'm sorry for all the people on here who can't get out of their own way. Best of luck.

      October 5, 2010 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      You CHOSE to go to Iraq. Didn't choose to get shot. You choose to be unhealthy, both inside and out. You know, ask anyone that actually goes to a gym. I bet every one has a story of a guy with one leg, a guy with one arm, some 80+ year old in there doing it. Everyone has pain, some more chronic than others. I've posted about my struggles in another post if you care to read it. You are bitter and I get it. I hope you seek help and will pray for you.

      October 5, 2010 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • DBINVA

      Howard found what works for him and now thinks he knows how to fix everyone's problems. He's like the newly on the wagon alcoholic. Or the friend who found a soul mate and wants to share the news with the world. Good for you, Howard. I'm glad you found your answer. You have good reason to crow about your success. But be aware that it may not be what works for everyone else.

      October 5, 2010 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Maybe so. You might be onto something. I made it (and still fight it, gaining and losing the last 15lbs constantly) despite what I've been through and I've wondered about that myself. It is indeed a fact that my tolerance for being fat and unhealthy is quite low now, but that is in stark comparision to what it was before. I like to think that I am trying to help motivate others who are in the shoes I was in (even my shoe size changed, lol) but I also realize that I probably would have reacted the same way had I heard anyone saying then the things I am saying now. It does take the light switch within to flip so all my "crowing" is probably useless. Probably should have just said Yay me! Sorry for trying to help. Everyone, go about your excuses and hatred. Hope it's working for ya.

      October 5, 2010 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I have found a great company that has solutions for problems, Weight loss, Sleep disorders, Liquid Vitamins and Nattural Energy products. I invite you to take a look. http://davesjuice.vemma.com

      October 13, 2010 at 00:43 | Report abuse |
    • Rayoflight

      Thanks for not backing down to all the excuses and utter lies we tell ourselves about why we can't. Even those who are screaming and complaining about your advice are storing your comments in their souls...they know you are right! Only sick people keep doing the same things expecting something different. I am overweight and challenged as well with getting out of my own way...but daggit I'm going to do it. I must. I care about my life and about myself. I care about my family. I even care, as you obviously do, about those who would be mean and nasty when you try to help them too.

      October 15, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
  4. Alice

    Oh my. Does anyone else notice this unhealthy pattern our society has developed? Sleep less in order to work harder to develop, build, sell, invest in tools that make us lazier. As technology increases, so do our waistlines. Technology advancement – good. Letting technology tools stop you from doing simple healthy things like going for a walk outside – bad.

    October 5, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rayoflight

      Yes... it's not really progress if the people are unhealthy and unhappy...is it? Who defined this thing called progress for us anywayi?

      October 15, 2010 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
  5. Dave

    A study with a sample size of only 10 people is hardly a study at all... and for only 2 weeks?! Is this a joke... hardly newsworthy

    October 5, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nic

      Dave – there have been other studies that demonstrate similar results. While this study is hardly large enough to condone an adequate sample size, the statistical power to determine significance can be adjusted to account for it. Also, this merely could have been a pilot study in an attempt to secure more funding and conducted again at a larger scale.

      Bottom line – there's truth to more sleep correlating to losing weight even if this study wasn't super robust.

      October 5, 2010 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • These studies are tax-right offs

      Nothing more nothing less.

      October 5, 2010 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      It is already proven by rather large studies that sleep shortages cause mental illness, congestive heart failure, traffic and industrial accidents and slowed reaction times similar to drunkenness. I have little trouble believing that it can make you fat too.

      October 5, 2010 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • Bree

      Yep I agree. Could've used a more credible study to convey the message.

      October 5, 2010 at 21:35 | Report abuse |
  6. Gonzo

    It's really not that hard to envision, actually. When you are awake and are in need of energy, you have that instinct built into you to acquire new sources of energy (food) instead of using available energy (fat stores). When you are asleep and need energy, you cannot gather food, but rather will have to find alternative sources – aka by breaking down your fat reserves.

    The common misconception might be that many think of sleep as a passive process with little activity. In reality your body is working overtime trying to repair damage resulting from waking activities, correcting chemical imbalances, and consolidating information gathered, (which, yes, does happen to some extent in the waking period as well, but see above paragraph). That requires a lot of energy.

    October 5, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Howard

      Yep. Your muscles grow and repair (iincluding your brain) when you sleep.

      October 5, 2010 at 12:58 | Report abuse |
  7. Brandon

    8.5 hours of sleep!

    October 5, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Glimroc

    Really?? How much did this study cost? I coould have told you this for $50

    October 5, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Q

      I'll tell them for $45!

      October 5, 2010 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
  9. Running Mad

    Come on everyone. It is your responsibiity to stay healthy. There is no panacea. Change your food habits, excercise habits, and lifetstye- that is as simply as it gets.

    October 5, 2010 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ingrid

      ....and what about for those of us that are doing all of that and still cant lose weight?
      Stop blaming people all the time. I really hate people like you who think its so black and white. I hope you get in a terrible car accident and have terrible chronic pain that prohibits you from losing weight. Then come back to the planet and tell us how 'easy' it is. Idiot.

      October 5, 2010 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
    • Teresa

      There are those of us who do all these things and the weight doesn't come off. My guess is that your life isn't what you'd like it to be, or you wouldn't be spending time judging others so you can feel superior.

      October 5, 2010 at 19:19 | Report abuse |
    • Ashley


      For how long did you all allegedly try these methods? You don't actually think you can change your lifestyle over night, do you? And it's not just about changing the state of your body, but the state of your mind. You can do anything physical all you want, but if you're still thinking in the back of your mind "This isn't going to work", then your doubt becomes your own self-fulfilling prophecy. You can spit on everyone's motions to aspire, and call them 'narrow-minded' but you can bet they've been through, or met people that have had it much worse than you.

      You are only holding yourself back. And the fact that you say now "It doesn't work," shows that you indeed, gave up. Whether because it was too painful, you weren't getting the results you wanted in a given amount of time, or because of your own self-doubt. Again, not anyone's choice but yours.

      So unless you go to a doctor or a scientist and he tells you "Sorry, you have some inhibitor that keeps you from losing weight, and it's permanent," I doubt it's impossible. Even so, with Howard's case, doctors, anyone can be proven wrong.

      Try again. This time, include your state of mind in the healing process. Right now, it's only full of doubt, bitterness, and hate. And that certainly will not get you to the finish line. And even if you had gotten some improvement, you wouldn't see it, because you were so against it in the first place.

      Like skinny anorexic girls, nothing but horrid skin and bones, still look in the mirror and think they're fat. It's all mental. They may have been fat at one time, but they certainly aren't now. Doesn't matter though how much weight they've lost, because they can't see it. Their minds are too clouded with the bitterness and hatred against everyone and themselves.

      And like these anorexic girls, or anyone with self-hate related diseases or disorders, unless you do something about your state of mind, you will never be satisfied. You could lose 100 lbs, and never be satisfied. Because you wouldn't even notice, and it wouldn't be enough for you to even notice the progress you might have made.

      The comments about you having excuses, are just comments about you being negative. Be more positive.

      October 6, 2010 at 12:09 | Report abuse |
    • Rayoflight

      WOW. Some of the comments are so hateful and say more about our spirits as individuals and collectively as a nation. Some people hate themselves so much they wish you harm for trying to help them.

      October 15, 2010 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
  10. Aaron

    How long would Michael Moore have to sleep?

    October 5, 2010 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kraznodar

      I'm guessing 3 decades, minimum.

      October 5, 2010 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
  11. Big Ron

    Make sence, people that sleep less have more time to eat!

    October 5, 2010 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. N

    That's why many Firefighters die soon after retiring...within 7 years typically. People have no clue what consistent lack of sleep does to your body decades after decades. No clue unless you do it. Getting only 3-4 hours a sleep in a 24 hour shift is brutal on your mind and body.

    October 5, 2010 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Tired of whiners

    On both sides! It's each individuals CHOICE to live the way they want. (I'm not even starting a political rant) But we live in a free country. Free to eat and look like a slob or to be an active healthy member of society. Either way, all of you judgemantal bigots (ON BOTH SIDES) should worry a little more about your own issues instead of deciding eveyone else's living habits for them... Just saying.

    5'-10", an athletic 175 lbs and approx 7 hours of sleep a night, for all of you who are about to start judging...

    October 5, 2010 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shannon

      I couldn't have said it any better myself!


      and yes, I do manage to get about 7 hours of sleep myself during the week and ALLOW myself to sleep in on weekends.

      October 5, 2010 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
    • RADDOC

      Yes – it is a free society....you do have the choice. But is a fair when your poor physical health ends up costing everyone else by increasing the cost of health care?

      October 5, 2010 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
    • BMI is a bad indicator

      I agree with what you are saying completely, however, I want to point out given your stats, you are actually considered "overweight" on the BMI scale. BMI should NOT be used as a judge of whether or not someone is overweight or has a higher-risk of health problems because of it.

      Not trying to discount what you are saying or say that you are actually overweight, I'm saying our standards need to be revised, and it should include something other than BMI as a reference.

      October 5, 2010 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • Kudos to you

      Well said, couldn't have done it better

      October 5, 2010 at 23:28 | Report abuse |
  14. Amber

    Notice-the only cause of weight gain or lack of weight loss here is eating. This study is implying that less sleep may raise appetite, but you still have to eat to gain the weight. Hmmm.

    October 5, 2010 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ThePoolMaster

      It's a little more complex than that. Your weight is regulated by how much and what you eat.....but also by how your body utilizes the energy (i.e. your metabolism). Some people can eat like a horse, yet they stay lean and thin. Some can eat like a mouse and continue on a path of weight gain. The best way to lose weight is to maintain a healthy metabolism through regular exercise, healthy eating and a good night's rest. It truely doesn't get simpler than that.

      Excuses are just that. There are always choices, no matter the situation you are in. Life is about balance.....its up to each of us to figure out how to do that. If my piss-poor, single, under-employed brother-in-law with a 5-year old daughter can find a way to eat healthy and stay fit......anyone can do it.

      October 5, 2010 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
  15. n

    I have to agree. I suffer from a sleep disorder and when I am sleeping well, I lose weight and my body maintains it. I also drink a lot less caffeine and thus the junk food that you eat with it.

    October 5, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. WomenOnGuard

    That makes sense. If you sleep less, you body assumes you will need more energy and might hold on to the fat you have, like a reserve. Slowing your metabolism....

    October 5, 2010 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. vicar Katz

    Let me see. Sleep 8 hours instead of 5, and loose weight. Duh! If you sleep 3 more hours, that's 3 less hours you have to eat that snack etc you know you shouldn't.

    October 5, 2010 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. gadigad

    well when u go to sleep your body starts feeding on ur dinner, after it runs out it starts feedin on ur muscles till you wake up and eat ur breakfast. therefore ur not loosing fat ur loosing muscles if u sleep more.

    October 5, 2010 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Garry

    The realreason that if you sleep more and loose weight is because the time you are sleeping, your not eating. Study was useless.

    October 5, 2010 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Nancy

    A sample size of 10? The results are meaningless with that sample size.

    October 5, 2010 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Average Joe

    If I slept 3 more hours a day (up from 5.5 to 8.5) that would means I would sleep 1,095 more hours a year. That equals 46 solid days more sleep. Think of all you miss. Personally, since you only live once, I would prefer to do it awake as much as possible. As the old saying goes, you can sleep when your dead...

    October 5, 2010 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ashley

      Well yes you could be missing "events" but varying from person to person, you might be spending that time you are awake, feeling healthier, and happier in general, than skipping sleepy and living the majority of your life unhealthy and miserable.

      October 6, 2010 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
  22. Katie

    I know it is difficult...we lead such busy lives these days. However, I have to say that lately (even with all of my other priorities and obligations) I've made an effort to get to bed earlier by turning off the t.v., letting SOME household chores go for another day, etc. I feel a REAL DIFFERENCE in my energy level, my disposition remains "nicer" for most of the day, and I am so much more efficient. I think there is a possibility that we place too little importance on the benefits of a good night's sleep. What are some things you can "let go of" in order to accomplish getting proper sleep? 🙂

    October 5, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. boocat

    This is old news. I read this about 20 years ago. If you get enough sleep you won't be going to the trough.

    October 5, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Cieje Valentine

    Look in "Life Extension" magazine, my friend was showing me an article that discussed the fact that there are actually 27 or 37 different factors that attribute to obesity, many of which would surprise a lot of you.. (it surprised ME, and I'm doing everything I can to undo my giant gut.)

    October 5, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. jillmarie

    Interesting findings- though I have heard about the relation between ghrelin and sleep. I love how a BMI is considered overweight by the study- so true- I work for a weight loss company and a BMI of 19-24 was considered healthy mere months ago- now guidelines here say 19-25. I have a hard time telling clients that.

    October 5, 2010 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Texas Pete

    Maybe the problem here is that if you only sleep 5.5 hours instead of 8.5, that is 3 hours that you are tempted to eat junk.

    October 5, 2010 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Missy

      Yeah, there's that! First thing I thought of when I saw the link on the main page was that every minute someone sleeps is one less minute to stuff the face. We could've told them that without a fancy study, huh? 😉

      October 5, 2010 at 20:52 | Report abuse |
  27. Anna

    True perhaps. But there is such a thing as TOO MUCH sleep. I sleep exactly 7.5 hours a night. and of those hours, I'm getting up and down and up again. Usually the train that goes by, dry mouth (I have severe sinus allergies that forces me to breath through my mouth), dehyradition (sp), suffocatingly hot in the room even with the fan running.....ect. Then there's the issue where I prefer to be up at night.....

    October 5, 2010 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Mikal

    Sleep is highly important, coupled with proper diet and exercise. It is up to the individual to will their carcass off the floor, cast away ALL excuses and take accountablity for their material body. If you wish to watch all the super programs on TV and complain about this issue or that issue that you have, it's your choice to be miserable. Everyone has problems, however if one is in balance with their body these "problems" become much quieter.

    October 5, 2010 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. k

    just as much a myth as everything else... i am trying to figure out why... but all I do is sleep during down time. I eat healthy, excersize and sleep... a lot, but the pounds have not moved an inch.

    October 5, 2010 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ThePoolMaster

      At least you are successfully maintaining your weight. Imagine what you would be like if you eat fatty crap, sit in front of the TV until 3 in the morning and wake up 2 hours later on the couch.....

      ...perhaps its not a myth?

      October 5, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
  30. jd

    6 feet 2 inches and my weight should be 165 lbs to have a normal BMI according to your calculator.. At 165 my ribs would get in the way of my steering wheel.

    October 5, 2010 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Bregan

    That's because Americans are OBSESSED with living to work, instead of working to live. They lack real vacations and are stuck in their own little world.... I know, because I am one, but I do my best to see the bigger world, outside of our little melting pot.

    October 5, 2010 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. laura

    I am an active mom of 3 young kids, and we don't have a TV. Our week evenings are spent as a family going to the local recreation center swimming, and me and my husband take turns watching the kids so we can get a workout in the gym. Before we got a gym membership we'd go on bike rides, walks and hikes in the evening. We all go to sleep by 9:30, my husband gets up at 6:30 for work, and the kids and I get up at 7:30 to get our daughter out the door for school. I am fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom so I can cook healthy homecooked meals. It is so important to teach the kids to live a healthy lifestyle so they will maintain it when they get older. We are not perfect by any means, but we try to do the best to teach our children to live a healthy life, and for ourselves too, so we can spend many happy healthy years together! Also raising kids can be exhausting, but it is a much easier job when a parent is of a healthy weight, so they will have energy to care for the little munchkins!

    October 5, 2010 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dorkoman

      sex nowadays does not need be for procreation usage only...plenty of sexercize from hip rotation and other methods of screuing is good for the heart...to hell with too many kids...we need less of them in the world at this time. Most of them grow up to be shi+ anyway!

      October 5, 2010 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
  33. Michael Dow

    Unfortunately, the results of this study cannot be completely trusted due to some research flaws. The first is that there were only 10 subjects that are supposed to represent the rest of the population. Secondly, "they ate the same diet, consumed multivitamins and performed the same type of work or leisure activities." There are a couple of problems with this. This means that all 10 subjects consumed the same amount of calories. Also, all 10 subjects burned relatively the same amount of calories. The researchers may have thought that they were controlling as many factors as possible, but this is the source of the greatest flaw. To maintain a certain weight, you require a specific amount of calories. This amount depends on your age, weight, height, gender and activity level. Everyone is different and the calorie requirement can be very different from person to person (source of this info is from The National Academies of Science research on calorie requirements in their 2005 Dietary Reference Intake publication). So, with this case, one person may have required 3000 calories to maintain their obese weight while another 2500 and another 3500. This obviously was not measured because they were all given the same diet as CNN reported. This means that if they were all given a diet of 2500 calories per day, the person that consumed more calories on an average day than the others would have lost more weight. The issue with the same activity is similar to consumption of calories. Everyone consumes calories at a different rate even if it is the same exercise. For instance, if the activity is jogging on a treadmill, the amount of calories burned for the same amount of time for different people would depend on the amount of muscle mass, weight and other issues. To sum these two points up, if the person that consumed an average of 3500 calories a day dropped to 2500 a day for the study, but then burned fewer calories than the other participants, it is possible that sleep had no factor in the results since an energy balance relative to the indivdual was not maintained. Thirdly, the study only lasted 14 days.

    The following research steps would be better in determining the effects of sleep on weight loss:
    Determine the daily calorie needs for a group of overweight participants for their weight.
    Determine the reduction of daily calories needed for each participant to lose 2 lbs/week.
    Have the participants regain their weight.
    Determine the amount of calories burned for particular exercises for each participant.
    Separate the group into two groups of sleep deprived and not deprived.
    Have each participant reduce their calorie intake so that they will lose the expected 2 lbs/week.
    Apply the sleep deprivation to the experimental group.
    Ensure each participant is maintaining energy balance for their expected weight loss (i.e. if a person requires a consumption of 2400 calories/day to lose 2 lbs/week then he or she is not allowed to consume more than that and if they perform extra activity, then they are to consume more to "cancel" the amount of calories that were burned.)
    At the end of the study period, preferably 60 days, measure the amount of weight loss for each participant relative to the expected 2 lbs/week.
    If the control group lost all of its expected weight and the experimental group lost an amount of weight that was significant in regards to scientific research, then one can draw a correlation between reduced weight loss and sleep deprivation.

    For more information, visit the website for Dow Creative Enterprises.

    October 5, 2010 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Denizen Kate

    This is NOT NEWS. There have been other more thorough studies of the relationship between sleep (or lack thereof) and weight loss, studies that included more than merely 10 people, studies that carried on for a number of years, not just a couple of weeks. Can I get the nice cushy job these lame duck researchers seem to have? Maybe then I'd have more time to sleep.

    October 5, 2010 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MichaelWellNDowed

      Well, too much sleep and sex is very good for tha soul...makes it very sound!!!

      October 5, 2010 at 15:59 | Report abuse |
  35. Talgrath

    Hmm, and just a few months ago an article on CNN said that those that sleep more than eight hours a day die earlier...so my choice appears to be sleep a lot and die early or sleep little and be fat; I'd rather be a bit chubby myself.

    October 5, 2010 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. magnus

    Good study. And Im not surprised in the result. The human body needs more rest in this stressed-out society which demands more and more of individuals as our country goes down the tubes. More stress = more weight gain.

    October 5, 2010 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Melissa

    This is what happens when most people can only take 2 weeks out of a year for a vacation, and only have a few hours a night to relax before they have to go to sleep to get up the next morning for work and do it all again.

    Most other country's have brains in their heads that don't insist on people working themselves to death. Its why Americans are fat, and why we get sick faster than any other first world country. We all need to start insisting on more time off, and better benefits.

    October 5, 2010 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Amy

    There have been several studies on this topic. All of these studies show the same results. (My personal opinion: This is why many new mothers gain weight-they don't get enough sleep.) I feel sorry for all of the people who make excuses and "blame" others for being healthy as a result of their "silver spoon" crimes. There are two types of people in this world: the victims and the champions. The victims make excuses for their failures and the champions find reasons to succeed. For those who are looking to be champions, and make the choice to succeed, I suggest Bill Phillips' books Body for Life, Eating for Life, and Transformation. You can also go to Transformation.com. I work full time, am a single mother of two, and help take care of my two elderly, unhealthy parents who live with me. I lost 25 lbs and am still going. Getting enough sleep (7 hours for me, plus naps on the weekends) is definitely a part of the solution. I don't currently have cable and I have limited my internet time, which really helps. Good luck to all of those who are finding reasons to succeed!!!

    October 5, 2010 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Jaxon

    Perhaps the majority of the people in this study were sleep-walkers....I happen to be a sleep-eater....you can imagine my suprise when I wake up with my head in the fridge, cradling a hoagie as a pillow...now that is a dilemma...

    October 5, 2010 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. AdamChi

    The same holds true for scrawny guys trying to gain muscle. You can work out like a maniac and eat right, but if you don't get enough sleep you will not gain like you should. This can be especially troublesome for those whose schedules force them to work out late at night as that can be highly disruptive to normal sleep.

    October 5, 2010 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Craig

    A "large" part of the problem with people not sleeping enough is they want it all. No sacrifice, just gimme gimme gimme. No give give give. A selfish society. ) – :

    October 5, 2010 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dorkoman

      Ain't it though??? Makes me want to PUKE!

      October 5, 2010 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
  42. American Mattress

    For a better night sleep visit us here http://www.americanmattress.com

    October 5, 2010 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Don

    I sleep 5.5 hours a night, so I can get up and run 4 miles every morning and be back before my little boy wakes up. I am not fat.

    October 5, 2010 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. struggling lady

    I need some sugguestions. I am 5'3" and I weigh 223 pounds. I get 8 hours of sleep every night. I work out for one hour in the morning before I go to work. I eat a mostly healthy diet, which consists of one salad a day. I have been doing this for 3 months and have yet to lose a single pound. In fact, I gained 15. What am I doing wrong?

    October 5, 2010 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • StudyFlaw

      I would suggest that you keep track mathmatically of all the calories you intake and predict using a calorie burning calculator online to suggest how many you need to maintain your current weight and then recalculate this down to what your goal weight is and stick to that new calorie intake until you reach your goal (as long as you intake less than what it takes to maintain then you should lose overall. (which bases it on how much you exercise, how strenuously you exercise and how much activity you have during the day.) Suggest also that you substitute more natural foods (not processed whenever possible) and to completely eliminate soda (diet or regular) (empty calories) from your diet. We are all relatively simple organic machines....energy in – energy out. Now if those factors don't seem to work then it might be wise to seek medical help as it may mean there are other factors at work which need attention.

      October 5, 2010 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • rivirivi

      You should be eating 6 times a day, (1) Breakfast (2) apple & Banana snack mid morning (3) Lunch (4) 2 Oranges Mid Afternoon) (5) Dinner (6) Apple and milk 1 hour before sleep time. Workout 1/2 in the morning and 1/2 hr at night before Dinner. Voila: You will lose 25 pounds every 2 months. (as long as you do not have any hidden stuff that is why you need to go to the doctor before any diet)

      October 5, 2010 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Struggling Lady I strongly suggest buying Bill Phillips' books Body for Life, Eating for Life, and Transformation. You can also go to Transformation.com. His methods have worked for me!

      October 5, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse |
    • sheppard

      Try keeping a food diary for one thing. Write down every piece of food that goes in your mouth. Even chewing gum. My doctor insists on this. You will be amazed that much (if you are trying to lose weight) you actually eat – and how little (if you are trying to gain weight) that you consume. It is very hard to believe that you could could gain weight living the life-style you described unless you have some serious health issues going on.

      October 5, 2010 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
    • K

      Have your thyroid checked.

      October 5, 2010 at 22:06 | Report abuse |
  45. StudyFlaw

    This study fails to mention specific calorie restrictions per BMI indexed person. Perhaps it is in the actual study, but a study of only 14 days with only 10 people does not seem to be sufficient to come up with the conclusion. Logic would have suggested counter to the study result that since when you are awake you burn more calories than when you are sleeping that you would lose more weight. The control rate of strictly reducing one's calorie intake below what one is burning was not done. It does make sense though that one should burn at a higher rate when awake if your muscles were fully rested which might happen at 8.5 hrs and even less given less activity (sitting at a desk job?). (i.e. tired muscles do not use energy at 100% efficiency...duh!) It may actually be a wash between the efficiency of rested muscles and the higher energy rate use while being awake. Since the information provided to us does not say at what level someone restricted their energy intake to compared to what they require to maintain their current weight we do not have anywhere near an accurate prediction of what should happen...incomplete studies like this should wait until they can do a complete job of it......

    October 5, 2010 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. rivirivi

    Maybe we are supposed to sleep 23 hours and bathe (15 m) Exercise (30 m) Eat (15m) go back to sleep. This way I guarantee you will lose weight.

    October 5, 2010 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. struggling lady

    how do you find time to eat 6 times a day?

    October 5, 2010 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. V Saxena

    Run more and lose even more weight ;-).

    October 5, 2010 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. struggling lady

    next question: how do you calculate BMI?

    October 5, 2010 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. kris

    I really think these results are from the fact that going to bed earlier prevents obese people from late night binging – which is a HUGE problem for obese people. Any thoughts?

    October 5, 2010 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.