It’s a wonderful feeling when you wake up from a good night’s sleep refreshed and ready to face the day.
Now scientists have discovered yet another reason to start counting sheep and have an early night.
They found that people who regularly get six hours sleep or more were twice as likely to lose a stone than people who had trouble sleeping.
The researchers asked 500 overweight participants to reduce how much they ate by 500 calories a day and to eat a low-fat diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
They were also told to increase the amount of exercise they did, until they were exercising for 3 hours each week.
At the beginning of the study, the researchers recorded participants’ stress levels, how much sleep they usually had and how much time they spent watching TV and on the computer.
After a six month period, the dieters who had between 6-8 hours sleep a night and had the lowest stress levels were found to be the most likely to lose 10lb or more.
Dr Charles Elder, of the Kaiser Permanente Centre for Health Research, in Portland, Oregon, said: “This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress.”
“Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep.”