People on a diet can lose weight more easily if they get enough sleep at night, new research suggests.
A good night's sleep helps dieters lose more fat and helps control hunger, according to a study from the University of Chicago.
The research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, involved 10 people aged between 35 and 49, whose body type varied from overweight to obese.
The participants cut down their calorie intake, and for a fortnight they spent 8.5 hours in bed every night during which they slept for an average of seven hours and 25 minutes.
For the next two weeks, they spent 5.5 hours in bed and, on average, got five hours and 14 minutes of sleep each night.
Researchers found that the total amount of weight lost was the same during each exercise - around 6.6lb or 3kg over a two-week period.
However, the key finding was that when the volunteers got a full night's sleep, they lost more fat. Half of the body weight lost during the session when they had adequate sleep was in the form of fat, compared with only a quarter during the second 14-day period.
Getting a good night's sleep also helped control the dieters' hunger, the study showed.