Sleep could help keep extra holiday weight off

sleep and weight
Bruce Bailey, the author of a study that measured the relationships between sleep and weight. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

Sleeping and maintaining a healthy body weight are highly related, according to a recent study carried out by BYU professors.

Bruce Bailey, an exercise science professor, led the two-year project, and he summed up some of the main findings from this correlation study.

“Having good sleep patterns makes you function better cognitively, physically, emotionally, and it seems that it possibly has an impact on body weight and body fat,” Bailey said.

Co-author, and also an exercise science professor at BYU, Larry Tucker discussed the great need for Americans to live healthy lifestyles that will help them avoid becoming obese.

“We’re in an epidemic, and that’s just not loose use of that word,” Tucker said.

According to Tucker, BYU college students are strong, healthy individuals who can help prevent obesity by working to set up consistent, quality sleep patterns.

Tucker made it clear that good diet and exercise were the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. However, the results from this study also show that sleep has a strong relationship with health as well.

“Literally every system of the body is affected by sleep, and when we don’t get significant sleep or the quality is not good the body adapts and doesn’t perform well,” Tucker said.

A BYU news release clarifies a more specific amount of time needed for healthy sleep.

The news release stated, “Bailey and his team also found there was a sweet spot for amount of sleep: Those who slept between 8 and 8.5 hours per night had the lowest body fat.”

Bailey also noted that even trying to sleep in on the weekends could throw off sleeping rhythms important for keeping the body running properly.

Studies regarding sleep and health are a good possibility in the future according to both Bailey and Tucker, and they both mentioned their desires to know more regarding the subject.

“The more we learn the more there is to learn,” Tucker said.

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