A Good Night’s Sleep Could Help Prevent Obesity: A Physician Explains

We know sleep plays an integral role in our overall physical and mental health. But did you know sleep can help you lose weight? Permanente adult and family medicine physician Jason Singh, MD, spoke with WTOP about a new study showing sleep can help people lose weight and prevent obesity.

“There’s actually a lot of health benefits just from getting adequate sleep at night,’ Dr. Singh said. “More recently, the Journal of the American Medical Association pointed out from a randomized clinical trial that improving and maintaining adequate sleep could reduce weight and actually suggested it to be a viable intervention for obesity prevention and weight loss programs.”

He explained that when a person is well rested, their appetite decreases. Neurohormones that stimulate appetite are suppressed when someone’s well rested, so they’re less likely to indulge in food.

Dr. Singh said daylight saving time could impact people’s sleep schedules.

“When you’re exposed to more light in the evening, your body will not prepare you as well for sleep, and without proper sleep, our body goes into a heightened state of stress,” Dr. Singh said. “And that starts to affect our blood pressure, our heart rate, breathing, focus, judgment—and that’s where you start to develop health problems.”

  • He offered these tips to maintain good sleep hygiene during the time change.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Get enough natural light, especially earlier in the day.
  • Be active but try not to exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol and foods high in fat or sugar before bedtime.
  • Avoid artificial light and turn off screens such as TVs or smartphones 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
  • Use a blue light filter on your computer or smartphone throughout the day.
  • Keep the bedroom dark and quiet.
  • Keep the room temperature somewhere between 60 to 67 degrees.