S u m m a r y:
Poor sleep patterns are linked with being overweight and obese, says a new study published in PLOS ONE.
Poor Sleep, Poor Metabolism
Adults who do not enjoy proper and adequate sleep have a greater risk of being overweight or obese, and having poorer metabolism, says the study involving participants from the UK. The findings of the new research shows that those sleeping for fewer hours were heavier, and had a larger waist than those getting more sleeping hours.
The study authors conclude that lack of sleep might be contributing to metabolic diseases like diabetes.
Lack of Sleep & Diabetes
The aim of the researchers was to investigate the association between sleep duration, diet, weight, and variables that are indicators of metabolic health such as blood pressure (BP), blood cholesterol level, blood glucose, and thyroid function, explains lead author Laura Hardie from the University of Leeds. A group of 1,615 adults were interviewed about the number of hours of sleep they get, and their food intake was also recorded. Furthermore, blood samples were taken from them for analysis, and their weight, waist circumference, and BP were measured.
Study author Greg Potter explains that understanding the causes of obesity has important implications for public health because the condition leads to a number of diseases including type 2 diabetes.
Fewer Hours of Sleep, Larger Waist
The findings show that the volunteers who had an average of only 6 hours of sleep daily had a greater waist circumference (by 3 cm) than those who would be sleeping for 8 hours per night. Furthermore, the weight of shorter sleepers was also greater than their counterparts.
Sleep & Cholesterol
Another interesting finding was that shorter sleep was linked with lower levels of ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL cholesterol). The latter is known to assist the body in getting rid of ‘bad fat’, thereby protecting the heart from diseases.
Hardie explains that their study emphasises the importance of adequate sleep, given that the results show that those sleeping for fewer hours were more likely to gain weight than those having more hours of sleep.
How Many Hours of Sleep?
How much sleep should you be getting, then? According to Hardie, the exact figure differs from people to people; but it is believed that 7 to 9 hours should be beneficial enough.