If there’s a little more of you than you love, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and keeping your stress level low. According to researchers from Kaiser Permanente, that may help you shed the extra pounds.
That’s what a team of physicians led by Charles Elder found in a recent study, according to the results they reported in the International Journal of Obesity. Over the course of six months, they tracked the behavior and progress of 500 Kaiser Permenente patients in Oregon and Washingon who were trying to lose weight. The participants received diet and exercise instructions, attended weekly meetings that included weigh-ins and kept records of what they ate and how they slept and felt each day.
No surprise: Those who exercised regularly (the recommended amount was 180 minutes per week) and reduced calorie intake (recommended, 500 fewer per day) lost weight. Surprise: Those who got between six and eight hours of sleep and reported the lowest stress levels were the most likely to lose the most weight — 10 pounds or more.
Elder and his team concluded that getting the right amount of sleep and reducing stress can turbo-charge the usual diet plan.
“Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier,” he said. ” Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep. For some people, mind/body techniques such as meditation also might be helpful.”
Participants who lost 10 pounds or more during the study moved on to phase two, where the effectiveness of alternative techniques, such as acupressure, was measured when used in combination with traditional techniques. Elder and company will be reporting the results of phase two later. They’ll also be tracking the study group for another six months to see how well participants keep the weight off.