Dieters who suffer from poor quality sleep could lose muscle rather than fat, according to the results of a new US study. The University of Chicago research team found that test subjects who slept an average of 8.5 hours and 5.5 hours lost around the same amount weight, but the shorter sleep group lost a higher degree of muscle.
Ten overweight test subjects took part in the study, which involved identical low calorie diets and strictly timed sleeping periods over a two week period.
During the 8.5 hour sleep sessions weight loss was found to be more than 50% fat, while during the 5.5 hour sleep sessions the fat content of lost weight was around just 25%.
“They lost the same amount of weight, but the composition was different,” said senior researcher Dr. Plamen Penev.
The results of the study indicate that sleep quality and duration are key elements in managing body weight.
Sleep quality has been linked to weight in several previous studies, with obesity one of the related issues in some cases.