Adults should sleep at least seven hours a night for health and well-being, yet more than one-third of American adults fail to get enough sleep. A new study has shown that short-term, low-calorie diets can increase sleep quality in adults with obesity.

The study also demonstrates that lack of sleep may prevent weight loss maintenance in adults with obesity and that regular exercise may promote the maintenance of good sleep.

“About a third of Americans do not reach the goal of seven hours of sleep per night,” said Loretta Colvin, a nurse practitioner of the SSM Health Sleep Disorders Center at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital. “There’s been studies that have found links between poor sleep or sleep disorders and health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.”

Colvin says studies show that people without enough sleep tend to gravitate toward higher-carb and fat meals, which can add to obesity.

“Sleep needs to be thought of as part of basic health elements like nutrition and exercise,” she said.

Colvin notes that American culture is not good at prioritizing sleep.

“If you spend a lot of time watching your diet, watching your exercise, you may not be optimizing your goals,” she said.

Limited sleep can lead to health consequences like heart problems, metabolic problems, and how you feel. She says how we deal with stress and anxiety is served by getting a good night’s sleep.

To learn more about Sleep Programs and Weight, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.