Sleep And Weight Loss, Are There Links?

Sleep And Weight LossThere is a big public interest in the issue of possible links between sleep and weight loss. At the first sight, the link can seem obvious: the more we sleep, the less we move, so the higher risks of obesity and weight gain we actually have. After giving a second thought to the issue, some can come up with the idea that a lack of sleep or sleeping insufficient amount of time can also be bad for weight loss since improper or insufficient sleep is linked to feeling weak and lacking energy for proper physical activities during the day. The findings of an expert team of scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have proven the fact that a lack of sleep is linked poor nutrition, as well as higher risks for weight gain and serious cardiovascular problems. Recently, the findings of one more interesting study were published explaining the effects and the role of sleep for weight loss.

The links between sleep and weight loss were studied by a team of experts at the University of Washington. For their experiment, they invited 1088 pairs of twins, trying to eliminate genetic differences as an important weight loss or gain factor. It is a known fact that our genetics plays one of the main roles in our body’s patterns of storing energy, that is why using twins was thought to be the best idea for researching the effects of sleep for weight loss. A half of the participants was offered to have a less than 7 hours of daily sleep, and other participants were asked to have prolonged sleep of 9 and more hours a day. At that, some pairs of twins were supposed to have certain genetic predisposition to weight gain and being overweight, and some pairs were free from such factor, having normal body mass.

It turned out that those of the twins who were asked to sleep 9 hours and longer demonstrated much better results in weight loss and maintaining normal body mass, compared to those participants who slept 7 and less hours a day. At that, the influence of genetic factors in the links of sleep and weight loss was twice greater in those who slept for a shorter period of time every night compared to those who had a long sleep of more than 9 hours a night. Therefore, as the findings suggest, sleeping more than 9 hours can assist those of us who have a strong genetic predisposition to being overweight, remain in healthy body mass and reduce all related health risks. The findings of American scientists were published earlier this summer in one of the issues of the journal Sleep.

This was one of the first studies to research genetic connections between sleep and weight loss, and the scientists managed to find out a lot of new information about the genes associated with weight gain and obesity. Those carry valuable information about processing and storing fat, using sugar in the body, feeling of being full after eating, and so on. According to Dr Nathaniel Watson, one of the study leaders and an expert at the University of Washington: “The shorter sleep provides a more permissive environment for the expression of obesity related genes.” The study authors recommend all of us do not count on the stated effects and benefits of sleep for weight loss, because prolonged sleep as a natural weight loss boosting factor can work out only in conjunction with a healthy diet and active lifestyle.


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