Sleep more, weigh less

Want to lose weight? Perhaps you should get more sleep.

Researchers from Case Western University in Ohio monitored 70,000 women for over a 15-year period and determined that those getting five hours or less of sleep each night 30 percent more likely to gain weight than were those getting seven hours or more of sleep.

Light sleepers also have a significantly higher risk of becoming obese, according to the study supervised by Dr. S. Patel of the university.

What surprised the researchers was that sleeping patterns had a much greater influence on women’s long-term weight than eating habits or physical activity.

At the start of the study, the women who slept up to five hours a night weighed 5.4 pounds more than those who got 7 hours or more. They also put on 1.6 pounds more each year than the good sleepers.

The researchers stressed that the 1.6 pounds extra per year may not sound like much, until one thinks of accumulated weight gain from decades of adulthood.

Dr. S Patel, lead researcher, said that hormones regulating appetite are affected after just a few nights of sleep restriction. Surprisingly, researchers found that those sleeping less actually ate less than those getting adequate sleep, suggesting that inadequate sleep slows metabolism.

Excerpted from Medical News Today

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