Sticking to a healthy diet and exercise plan is crucial for people aiming to lose weight. A new study has revealed how getting regular, uninterrupted sleep can help people adhere to their diet and physical activity regime.

The study presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions earlier this month analyzed if good sleep health was linked to how well people responded to the various lifestyle modifications prescribed to them in a weight loss program.

The researchers evaluated the lifestyle modifications of 125 participants, who were overweight. The analysis was based on their group session attendance, caloric intake, and time spent in moderate-vigorous activities.

The sleep quality and habits of the participants were also measured at three intervals during the 12-month program, based on regularity, satisfaction, alertness, timing, and efficiency

Participants, who had better sleep health, were found to be more regular at the group session, adhered to their caloric intake goals, and showed improvement in time spent in physical activities.

"Focusing on obtaining good sleep--seven to nine hours at night with a regular wake time along with waking refreshed and being alert throughout the day--may be an important behavior that helps people stick with their physical activity and dietary modification goals," said Christopher E. Kline, who led the research said.

"A previous study of ours reported that better sleep health was associated with a significantly greater loss of body weight and fat among participants in a year-long, behavioral weight loss program," Kline added.

According to the American Heart Association, sleep is one of the key components for cardiovascular health, in addition to other factors like eating healthy food, being physically active, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and controlling cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels.

"There are over 100 studies linking sleep to weight gain and obesity, but this was a great example showing how sleep isn't just tied to weight itself, it's tied to the things we're doing to help manage our own weight. This could be because sleep impacts the things that drive hunger and cravings, your metabolism and your ability to regulate metabolism and the ability to make healthy choices in general," Michael A. Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, said.