No, you’re not dreaming. Getting more rest could actually be the key to dropping digits on the scale. There’s a reason why sleeping longer is on our list of 20 Ways To Overcome A Weight Loss Plateau, so shave off those pesky pounds with some shut-eye.
According to a recent study published in PLOS ONE that was based off of four years’ worth of data from a UK diet and nutrition survey, an extra hour of sleep could make all the difference in your weight-loss goals. Out of the 1,600 people studied, those who slept over eight hours every night had a lower BMI and smaller waists than those sleeping less than seven. They also had slightly higher levels of good cholesterol. Researchers hadn’t taken into account their diets, gym routines, or other lifestyle factors, basing these numbers on sleep alone.
It sounds too good to be true, but the science speaks for itself. Researchers split the people surveyed into three groups: the bottom third slept 5.88 hours on average, give or take 52 minutes, while the top third slept 8.44 hours a night, plus or minus 40. That doesn’t seem like too much of a gap, but the top third had BMI scores that were about two points below the lower third, which means the serious sleepers were a whole 7 pounds lighter. Not only that, but their waists were also 1.6 inches smaller. That’s a difference of almost two pant sizes!
Each extra hour spent snoozing was linked to a difference of almost half of a BMI point and a third of an inch in waist size. Why? Past studies have linked a decrease in sleep to an increase in appetite, and while these researchers didn’t find this correlation, they did theorize that less sleep could reduce a person’s resting metabolic rate. Whatever the reasons why, this study is just one among dozens that has found a link between losing weight and sleeping the recommended 7-8 hours a night.
So what are you waiting for? It’s not like we’re telling you to run a marathon. Simply cue the cozy PJs and get between the sheets ASAP. Having trouble getting to sleep and staying there? Try chowing down on The #1 Best Thing To Eat For Better Sleep and get an effortless eight hours under the covers.