It has long been thought that good sleeping habits can help a person lose weight, and now even more evidence has been found after scientists in Canada uncovered a link between proper bed rest and successful dieting. A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that people who changed their sleeping pattern from six hours to between seven and nine gained 2.4 kg less weight over a six-year period. A separate experiment that people who slept for longer and had a higher quality of sleep over a 17-week period were more likely to shed the pounds when dieting. "Among the behavioural factors that have been shown to impede weight loss, insufficient sleep is gaining attention and recognition," wrote the authors in the study's editorial. The link between sleep and obesity is still not clearly understood, but it is believed that hormones regulated by good sleep are connected to parts of the brain that control appetite - particularly "pleasure eating", when people eat compulsively even when they are not hungry. The researchers concluded that weight reduction programmes in the future should include advice on sleep as part of the "lifestyle package" along with diet and physical activity.