For this four-week randomized clinical trial, a team of researchers analyzed the sleeping and dietary patterns of 80 adults who regularly slept 6.5 hours or less per night (i.e., considered to be “short”, inadequate amounts of sleep). After a two-week baseline period, half of the group was coached through two weeks of personalized sleep hygiene counseling with the goal of helping them extend their daily snooze to at least 8.5 hours. Meanwhile, the other half of the group continued with their normal sleep routines.
As lead author of the study Esra Tasali, M.D., explained in a news release, previous research has already shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to overeating and, subsequently, weight gain. So the question here, he says, was, “If this is what happens with sleep loss, can we extend sleep and reverse some of these adverse outcomes?”
It’s important to note that aside from the sleep hygiene counseling, the participants were instructed to go about their business as usual (i.e., no suggested dietary changes).