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Sleeping Less Could Cause Weight Gain?

Mar 06, 2015 02:45 PM EST
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It may not be as simple as that, but new research shows that losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep per day can have long-term consequences for body weight and metabolism.

"While previous studies have shown that short sleep duration is associated with obesity and diabetes, we found that as little as 30 minutes a day sleep debt can have significant effects on obesity and insulin resistance at follow up," lead study author Professor Shahrad Taheri said in a statement. "This reinforces earlier observations that sleep loss is additive and can have metabolic consequences."

Anyone who is busy during the week, whether it's due to work or social commitments, knows that the weekends are for catching up on sleep. However, losing sleep during the week and making up for it later is shown to be a bad idea.

According to the new findings, weekday sleep debt may lead to long-term metabolic disruption, which may promote the onset of, or exacerbate the progression of, type 2 diabetes mellitus.

"Sleep loss is widespread in modern society, but only in the last decade have we realized its metabolic consequences," Taheri explained. "Our findings suggest that avoiding sleep debt could have positive benefits for waistlines and metabolism and that incorporating sleep into lifestyle interventions for weight loss and diabetes might improve their success."

Based on an analysis of 522 patients just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus, Taheri and his colleagues found that those who were short on sleep during the week were 72 percent more likely to be obese. By the 6-month mark, weekday sleep debt was significantly associated with obesity and insulin resistance.

What's more, at 12 months, for every 30 minutes of sleep lost during the week (compared to normal), the risk of obesity and insulin resistance increased by 17 percent and 39 percent, respectively.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 25 percent of the US population doesn't enough sleep, though it should be noted that experts with the National Sleep Foundation are recommending new sleep guidelines based on age.

The results were presented Thursday, March 5, at ENDO 2015, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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