After looking at 1,088 pairs of twins, researchers found a correlation between sleeping fewer than seven hours a night with an increased BMI and greater genetic influences on BMI.
A study published May 1st, 2012 in the journal Sleep concluded that insufficient sleep might contribute to weight gain. The researchers examined sleep and body mass index (BMI) in twins and found that sleeping more than nine hours nightly might suppress genetic influences on body weight. After looking at 1,088 pairs of twins, they found a correlation between sleeping fewer than seven hours a night with an increased BMI and greater genetic influences on BMI. Genetic influences include things like glucose metabolism, energy use, fatty acid storage and satiety.
They found that the genetic tendency of a higher BMI was twice as high for the short sleepers than for twins who slept longer than nine hours nightly. “The results suggest that shorter sleep provides a more permissive environment for the expression of obesity-related genes,” said principal investigator Nathaniel Watson of the University of Washington. “Or it may be that extended sleep is protective by suppressing expression of obesity genes.”
“If you are interested in ideal body composition and optimal health, you need to make sleep a priority, and it needs to occur during normal nighttime hours,” add the Griesels. “We need to understand our biological and physiological limitations by making correct choices and structuring our lives accordingly.”
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