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Can too little sleep affect our weight?
Everyone should already know that the human body needs enough sleep. A lack of sleep can cause serious health problems. Researchers have now found that too little sleep can lead to a larger waist size and an increased body mass index (BMI).
The University of Leeds scientists found in their study that lack of sleep increases the waist size and body mass index of those affected. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "PLOS ONE".
Medical professionals examine a total of 1,615 participants
In a study of 1,615 adult subjects, experts found that sleeping for an average of six hours a night resulted in an increased waistline of three centimeters compared to people who sleep about nine hours every night. Those affected also had a higher BMI and lower levels of healthy HDL cholesterol, the scientists say.
A sleep time of only six hours led to the worst results
Blood samples were taken from the participants and the waist circumference, weight and blood pressure were also recorded. During the study, the subjects' sleep times were divided into three categories. These included people who slept about six hours on average, the second group included subjects with a sleep time of about 7.5 hours. The third group slept about nine hours on average, the authors explain. The people with a sleep time of six hours had the worst results overall in the study.
Experts recommend bedtime of six to nine hours
We found that adults with sleep problems were more likely to be overweight or obese, explains author Dr. Laura Hardie from the University of Leeds. Everyone needs different amounts of sleep, but the scientists still recommend a bedtime of seven to nine hours. The study found no connection between less sleep and an unhealthy diet. This suggests that sleep appears to be a major factor in the results, the researchers explain.
Results were based on self-reporting of participants' bedtime
However, there were some limitations to the investigation. The results of the study are based on a self-report by the test subjects about their sleep. In addition, the subjects' diet was not recorded.
Additional weight comes from lack of sleep
The question naturally arises whether too little sleep is the cause or the result of the weight gain. But the study shows a clear connection between lack of sleep and obesity, the scientists explain.
We can positively influence our sleep
The results found are not good news for people with a short night's sleep. But there is also a positive factor for those affected: Our sleep can be positively influenced by most people. We can adjust our diet and sleep patterns to benefit our health, the doctors say. (as)