People who do not get enough sleep are more likely to have poor metabolic health and be overweight or obese, a new study from the UK reveals. The University of Leeds’ Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine found that people who slept for around nine hours each night had a waistline that was 3cm smaller than those who only slept for around six hours a night.
The researchers examined the sleeping patterns and food intake of 1,615 adults. Blood samples and pressures as well as weight were recorded and analysed alongside each individual’s sleep duration. The results reinforce previous beliefs that insufficient sleep can increase the development of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
One of the researchers, Greg Potter, points out the importance of discovering why people are gaining more weight. “The number of people with obesity worldwide has more than doubled since 1980,” he says. “Obesity contributes to the development of many diseases, most notably type 2 diabetes. Understanding why people gain weight has crucial implications for public health.”
Ultimately, the study highlights the need for adequate amounts of sleep in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent future disease. “How much sleep we need differs between people, but the current consensus is that seven to nine hours is best for most adults,” says Dr Laura Hardie of Leeds University.