Dropping excess pounds may not only improve your physical health, it might also help you feel more awake and happy, a new study shows.

The research, presented this week at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago, included 390 obese women and men who were assigned to one of three programs meant to help them lose weight through diet and exercise.

Changes in the participants’ weight, amount and quality of sleep and mood were assessed after six and 24 months. The average weight loss in the usual care group was 4.4 pounds, compared with about 8 pounds in the second group and close to 15 pounds in the third group.

However, no matter which group they were in, participants who lost at least 5 percent of their weight after six months slept an average of nearly 22 minutes more each night than they had before, the study found.

People who lost less than that gained only about one more minute of sleep a night, the researchers added.

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