Over 8 Hours of Sleep at Night keeps You Slim

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Over 8 Hours of Sleep at Night keeps You Slim

May 8, 2012: The scientists at the University of Washington have found that sleeping for more than 8-9 hours at night helps in suppressing the genetic factors leading to weight gain. Contrary to this, too little sleep leads to weight gain. So, adding few hours to the night sleep may help you keep yourself fit and may prevent you from gaining excess of weight.

It is to be noted that the previous study has depicted direct association between the poor sleep and obesity. However, a complex relationship between the sleep and genetic factors linked with body weight has been revealed by the new findings. The scientists discovered this relationship after carefully studying 1,088 pairs of identical as well as non-identical twins.

Studying twins enable the researchers to untie the influences of genetic and environment. Only identical twins are subject to same genetic effects as they share the same genes and thus, the differences in them are mainly because of environmental factors.

Heritability of body mass index (BMI) was found during the study. It was found that heritability of BMI was two times higher for short sleepers compared to long sleepers. In twins sleeping for less than seven hours at night, 70% of differences in BMI are influenced by genetic factors. And for twins averaging for more than nine hours sleep a night, genetic factors accounted for only 32% of variations in weight.

Over 8 Hours of Sleep at Night keeps You Slim

”The results suggest that shorter sleep provides a more permissive environment for the expression of obesity related genes,” Nathaniel Watson (leader of the US study), from the University of Washington, reportedly said. He also stated that there are possibilities that the extended sleep is protective by suppressing the obesity genes’ expression. As per the scientists, the hectic modern lifestyle might also contribute to obesity.

”Modern society with its ubiquitous technology often can cause misalignment between sleep need and sleep actualisation. This frequently has adverse consequences for cognitive (mental) function and metabolic, cardiovascular, and immunologic health,” scientists’ wrote in their study. They further wrote, ”Indeed, over the past century habitual sleep duration has dropped 1.5 hours per night and since 2001 the percentage of US adults getting at least eight hours of sleep per night on weeknights has fallen from 38 per cent to 27 per cent.” Using these statistics, they stated that chronically reduced sleep times share direct association with the obesity. They also said that the hormones, glucose metabolism and inflammation may get affected by sleep, which may further influence the body weight.

It is to be noted that some of the previous studies in contrast to the new study reveals association between longsleep duration and heart disease, insulin resistance and even early death. The researchers

of the new study defended their findings by saying that they didn’t observe this in their sample and their sample is much younger compared to those used in the previous studies that established adverse associations like heart disease, early death, etc. The findings of the new study were published in the journal Sleep on Monday.

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