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Missing Just 30 Minutes of Sleep May Lead to Weight Gain


Everyone knows how important it is to get enough sleep at night, as it promotes our immune system and energizes us for the next day. Lack of sleep can lead to depression, fatigue, compromised immune system functionality, and even aches and pains. Despite knowing this, a majority of Americans are not getting adequate quality sleep, with many getting six hours a night or less (the recommended length of time is eight hours). If you need another reason to stay rested, here it is: a new study indicates that losing even 30-minutes of sleep at night can lead to weight gain.

Researchers from the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar wanted to look at how sleep habits affect metabolism, since many people sleep less during the week and then try to play catch up over the weekend. In the study, the researchers analyzed data from 522 participants who had recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The participants were either asked to increase exercise levels, maintain a normal diet and exercise regiment, or do nothing. At the beginning of the study, volunteers who did not sleep enough during the week were 72 percent more likely to be obese than their counterparts who got enough sleep. Six months into the study, those with less sleep developed obesity and/or blood sugar problems.

After one year, the researchers found that missing only about half an hour of sleep can lead to these problems. For every 30 minutes of weekday sleep debt, there was a 17 percent increase in risk of obesity and a 39 percent increase in risk of insulin resistance. Shahrad Taheri, lead author of the study, says that these results disprove the notion that people can catch up on sleep over the weekend and still be healthy. Unfortunately, metabolic disruption during the week is not as easy to boost with catching some extra z’s on Saturday mornings. With that in mind, there is yet another reason to be sure to have a regular sleep schedule as it can not only fight disease, it can fight obesity as well.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Alexandra E Rust

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