Getting a few extra hours of sleep per night may actually help a person reduce their weight, according to a study published Monday.

The study, which appeared in the peer-reviewed JAMA Internal Medicine journal, looked at the number of hours a person sleeps and how that helps them cut their calorie intake.

Researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison enlisted 80 participants aged 21 to 40 with a body mass index of 25 to 29.9, which is traditionally considered "overweight."

They also had to get less than 6.5 hours of sleep each night.

The participants were split into two groups. One maintained the same sleeping habits and the other increased their sleep to 8.5 hours per night.

Researchers reviewed the calorie intake of the group that received more sleep and found that they had reduced their calorie intake on average by 270 fewer calories than the group that had gotten less sleep.

The group that slept longer also averaged a weight loss of nearly two pounds over the course of the two-week study.

According to researchers, adding just one hour’s sleep per night could result in a 26-pound weight loss over the course of three years.

“Along with a healthy diet and regular physical activity, healthy sleep habits should be integrated into public messages to help reduce the risk of obesity and related comorbidities,” the study’s authors wrote.

However, results differed by the participant, with some increasing their calorie intake and others decreasing their calorie intake by a significant level. In one case, a participant of the study decreased their calorie intake by more than 750 calories, but another study participant had increased their calorie intake by nearly 500 calories.

The study measured calorie intake by using the doubly labeled water method, which collects urine samples to accurately measure calorie intake, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information as reported by USA Today.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults aged 18 and older get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Children should average nine to 12 hours a night, while teenagers should get eight to 10 hours of sleep per night, the agency said.

sleep representation
A representational image of a women sleeping is seen here.