A new study in published in the International Journal of Obesity  examined whether the quality of sleep is related to weight loss and a reduction in adipose tissue.

Researchers from the Human Nutrition Unit of the Rovira i Virgili University, in conjunction with other research groups involved in the Predimed-Plus study, assessed the changes in weight and adiposity – body fat – of the 1,986 individuals who took part in the study for a year, all of whom presented overweight, obesity and the metabolic syndrome.

The patients followed an intensive intervention program, which included lifestyle changes designed for weight loss. It was based on a low-calorie Mediterranean diet, physical activity and behavior therapy.

The researchers observed that the individuals with highly variable sleep patterns at the beginning of the study lost less weight after a follow-up period of 12 months. What’s more, a high sleep variability and sleeping little – less than six hours – a day was associated with a lower decrease in body mass index and waist circumference.

These results reveal that adopting measures to achieve an appropriate sleep pattern may have an impact on maintaining the correct weight and preventing other metabolic disorders associated with excess body fat.