Sleeping habits predict the magnitude of fat loss in adults exposed to moderate caloric restriction

Obes Facts. 2012;5(4):561-6. doi: 10.1159/000342054. Epub 2012 Jul 27.


Objective: To verify whether sleep quantity and quality at baseline predict the magnitude of fat loss in adults subjected to moderate caloric restriction.

Methods: A total of 123 overweight and obese men and women (age, 41.1 ± 6.0 years; BMI, 33.2 ± 3.6 kg/m2 (mean ± SD)) underwent a weight loss intervention consisting of a targeted 600-700 kcal/day decrease in energy intake supervised by a dietician. The length of the intervention varied between 15 and 24 weeks. Body fat mass (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), sleep quality (total Pittsburgh sleep quality index score) and sleep duration (h/night, self-reported from the Pittsburgh sleep quality index) were assessed at both baseline and at the end of the weight loss program.

Results: The mean weight loss over the dietary intervention was 4.5 ± 3.9 kg, 76% of which came from fat stores. Using a multiple linear regression analysis, we observed a significant positive relationship between sleep duration and the loss of body fat, both in absolute (adjusted β = 0.72 kg/h; p < 0.05) as well as in relative terms (adjusted β = 0.77%/h; p < 0.01), after adjusting for age, sex, baseline BMI, length of the intervention, and change in total energy intake. Furthermore, we observed that a better sleep quality at baseline was associated with greater fat mass loss.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that sleeping habits can influence the success of a weight loss intervention and should be taken into consideration when one decides to start a diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Female
  • Habits
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity* / diet therapy
  • Self Report
  • Sleep*
  • Weight Loss*