(PORTLAND, Ore.) March 29, 2011 If you want to increase your chances of losing weight, reduce your stress level and get adequate sleep. A new Kaiser Permanente study found that people trying to lose at least 10 pounds were more likely to reach that goal if they had lower stress levels and slept more than six hours but not more than eight hours a night.
The paper, published today in the International Journal of Obesity, was the result of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Nearly 500 participants from Kaiser Permanente in Oregon and Washington took part in the study, which measured whether sleep, stress, depression, television viewing, and computer screen time were correlated with weight loss. Several previous studies have found an association between these factors and obesity, but few have looked at whether these factors predict weight loss.
"This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress," said lead author Charles Elder, MD, MPH, an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., who also leads Integrative Medicine at Kaiser Permanente Northwest. "Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. 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."
The study involved two phases: during the first phase, participants were asked to lose at least 10 pounds over six months. If they succeeded, they moved to the second year-long phase of the study, which tested a complementary acupressure technique against more traditional weight-maintenance strategies. Findings from phase two are not yet available.
During the study's first phase, all participants attended weekly meetings at which they
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