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BMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c5612 (Published 12 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5612

Sleep well while dieting

A restful night’s sleep is good for everyone, but it may be particularly important for overweight adults on calorie controlled diets, say researchers. Their experiment in 10 overweight volunteers suggested that sleep deprivation during a diet was associated with fat sparing and loss of fat-free mass instead. The volunteers spent two 14 day periods in the laboratory, eating 10% less than their calorie requirement each day. They were allowed 5.5 hours sleep a night during one period and up to 8.5 hours during the control period.

The volunteers lost the same amount of weight during each fortnight (3 kg), but the proportion lost from fat stores fell by half during sleep deprivation (0.6 v 1.4 kg; P=0.043). The volunteers felt hungrier when deprived of sleep and had significantly higher serum concentrations of ghrelin, a hormone released by the stomach to signal a need for food. They also had a significantly lower metabolic rate. Daytime naps were not allowed.

These experimental findings add to other evidence of a link between poor sleep, metabolism, and diet that tends to work against the efforts of adults trying to lose weight, says an editorial (p 475). Metabolism isn’t the only problem. People who sleep less have more time for snacking and may be too tired to exercise.

Severe hypoglycaemia is a bad sign for people with type 2 diabetes

Intensive control of type 2 diabetes became controversial when landmark trials failed to show a clear benefit to patients while at the same time reporting an increased risk of hypoglycaemia among those given a glycated haemoglobin target of 6.5% or less. Researchers are now re-examining trial data to explore whether episodes of severe hypoglycaemia were associated with lasting harm, …

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