I was able to share an interesting piece of information with my 9:00 AM circuit training class this morning. I told them about a study performed by the University of Chicago’s General Clinical Resources Centre showing that cutting back on sleep reduces the benefits of dieting. According to a study, cutting back on sleep causes dieters to lose less weight and less fat. It also promotes the production of the hormone ghrelin which initiates hunger and lessens energy expenditure.

Reported in Science Daily The study followed 10 overweight but healthy volunteers aged 35 to 49. For the 14 day sleep deprived  phase of the study they were given 5 hours and 14 minutes of sleep, and the 14 day adequate sleep phase they were given 8.5 hours of sleep. Volunteers lost an average of 6.6 pounds during each 14 day session. They were fed a balanced diet.

During the adequate sleep phase they lost 3.1 pounds of fat and 3.3 pounds of fat free mass. In the short sleep phase, they lost 1.3 pounds and 5.3 pounds of fat-free mass.  During the short sleep phase, participants ‘ ghrelin levels rose from 75 ng/l to 84 ng/lof fatfor the adequate sleep phase. during the second phase.

“Higher ghrelin levels have been shown to ‘reduce energy expenditure, stimulate hunger and food intake, promote retention of fat, and increase hepatic glucose production to support the availability of fuel to glucose dependent tissues,’ the authors note. ‘In our experiment, sleep restriction was accompanied by a similar pattern of increased hunger and … reduced oxidation of fat. (Science Daily (October 5, 2010.)

 Plamen Penev, the Principle Investigator said, “If your goal is to lose fat, skipping sleep is like poking sticks in your bicycle wheels.” “Cutting back on sleep, a behaviour that is ubiquitous in modern society, appears to compromise efforts to lose fat through dieting. In our study it reduced fat loss by 55 percent.”

 Back in class, Gail, one of my participants, and also a physician in real life, pointed out that many of her patients who are overweight also have sleep apnoea which causes them to never get a good night’s sleep. I added that that they also may be at risk of developing diabetes and also arthritis.

 Glen, a professor of Chinese History, asked if napping counted.

 “Probably not,” I said.

 Riccardo, a new member of the class asked angrily, “Where are we supposed to find this extra two hours? I’m too busy through the course of the day.”

 “You need to stop multitasking,”  I said. “You know how I feel about multitasking, It doesn’t work. Synonyms for multitasking  include.  ‘Chasing your tail,’ ‘Spinning your wheels,’ and, ‘Running down the street to catch a bus without a ticket.’ It’s a waste of time. It’s time better spent sleeping.”

 “But when I’m asleep, nobody does my work for me,” said Jill.

 “If you’re multitasking, “ I said, “Nobody is doing your work anyway, so why worry about it.”

 “Maybe I should be at home sleeping rather than coming to your class,” said Jill.

 “What?” I said. “You wouldn’t want to miss out on all this information, would you?”

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.



  1. World Spinner Says:


    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  2. Sharon Says:

    Sounds like my kind of diet. If I sleep 10 hr can I have a hot fudge sundae?

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  4. World Wide News Flash Says:


    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  5. Jody Worsham Says:

    Well duh, Mike. Even I know if I’m sleeping I’m not eating so the more time I spend sleeping, the less time I spend eating! Maybe I’ll go on the sleep deit. Wake me at 125 lbs please. (good info, just kidding)

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  7. dallas locksmith Says:

    You picked a great topic for this post and you wrote about it well. I have seen a few other web sites with comparable content but no one has completed a better job than you on writing about it.

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