MADISON, Wis., Dec 07, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Diet and exercise remain the mantra of weight loss gurus but a University of Wisconsin study indicates sleep is just as important to keeping off the pounds.
A five-year study of 1,024 volunteers in the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, found those who got less than eight hours of shuteye a night had reduced levels of the hormone leptin, which controls hunger, and had 14.9 percent higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.
Leptin levels were 15.5 percent lower in people who got less than eight hours sleep. The optimal amount of sleep for weight control was 7.7 hours per night.
"The hormone changes are likely to have increased people's appetite and may lead to increased BMI (body mass index)," Terry Young, UW Medical School professor of population health sciences, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Body Mass Index measures body weight adjusted for height. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight and 30 or higher is considered obese.
The study was published in the online issue of the journal Public Library of Science -- Medicine.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.