Preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2023 suggests that individuals who consistently get quality sleep are more successful at adhering to their exercise and diet plans while attempting to lose weight.
The study, conducted by Christopher E. Kline, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh, involved a 12-month weight loss program with 125 adult participants who were overweight or obese, without medical conditions requiring diet or physical activity supervision. Participants’ sleep habits were measured at the beginning, 6-month, and 12-month marks through various methods, including questionnaires and wearable devices, and were given a composite sleep health score of 0-6 based on six measures of sleep. Adherence to the weight loss program was also measured, including attendance at group intervention sessions, caloric intake, and physical activity levels. At the beginning, 6-month, and 12-month marks, participants had an average sleep health score of 4.5 out of 6.
What was found?
Following adjustments for age, gender, race, and bed-sharing status, the researchers discovered that higher scores on sleep health were linked to better adherence to group interval session attendance, caloric intake goals, and moderate-vigorous physical activity improvement. The study found that:
- In the first six months, participants attended 79% of group sessions, while in the second six months, attendance dropped to 62%.
- In the first six months, participants met their daily caloric intake goals 36% of the time, while in the second six months, the rate dropped to 21%.
- In the first six months, participants increased their total daily time spent in moderate-vigorous activity by 8.7 minutes, but in the second six months, the time decreased by 3.7 minutes.
- According to Kline, the decrease in group session attendance, caloric intake, and time spent in moderate-vigorous activity in the second six months was expected. “As one continues in a long-term behavioral weight loss intervention, it’s normal for the adherence to weight loss behaviors to decrease,” he said.
Furthermore, although there was a correlation between better sleep health scores and increased physical activity, the correlation was not strong enough to be statistically significant, which means that the findings may have been due to chance.