If you’re dieting, but not losing body fat, you might just need to get more sleep. A small study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that 10 overweight men and women, all on the same calorie-restricted diet, lost the same amount of weight whether they got 8.5 hours of sleep a night or 5.5 hours. The difference? When they got less sleep, 75% of the weight lost was not fat but muscle, Reuters reports. When they got more sleep, on the other hand, more than 50% of the weight lost was fat.
One researcher acknowledges that some muscle is always lost while dieting, but that it’s better to shed fat. The study also showed that those participants who slept less were hungrier during the day even though they ate the same amount of food. Prior studies have shown that people who sleep less than six hours a night tend to gain more weight or weigh more than those who sleep more. Want another reason to get more shut-eye? Click here.