A new study has found that the lack of sleep could be driving weight gain
The study conducted by the University of Leeds found that people who have an average of six hours of sleep have a 3cm thicker waist than those with nine.
The study, led by Dr Laura Hardie, examined 1,615 who reported how long they slept and kept records of food intake. Participants had blood samples taken and their weight, waist measurement and blood pressure recorded. The researchers also took into account age, ethnicity, sex, smoking and socioeconomic status.
Lack of sleep was also linked to reduced levels of HDL cholesterol - the "good" cholesterol - a factor that can increase the risk of heart disease
"Because we found that adults who reported sleeping less than their peers were more likely to be overweight or obese, our findings highlight the importance of getting enough sleep," Hardie said as quoted by Daily Mail.
The researchers did not speculate on why the lack of sleep causes weight gain.
Hardie noted that different people have different sleep needs but seven to nine hours of sleep is best for most adults
Greg Potter, a professor who also took part in the study, added that people who sleep less may have slower metabolisms.
“A few (not all) previous experiments have found that if you reduce how long people sleep, some people burn slightly fewer calories at rest,” Potter told Fox News.
Lastly, the research showed no linkage between poor sleep and a less healthy diet
In other words, skipping on shut-eye may fuel weight gain, even if it’s not fueling a penchant for sugary or fatty foods.
But Potter added that it’s possible the research didn’t have enough people to detect subtle relationships between sleep duration and diet. It's also possible that people did not accurately report their food choices during the course of the research.
Regardless of how sleep and weight are linked, getting adequate sleep daily is good for overall health
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, and quality of life.