5 Ways Sleep And Weight Are Connected

Allison Tsai Nov 30th, 2012 (updated May 19th, 2014)
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New studies are finding that sleep and weight are linked. Here is some of the latest research.

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Losing belly fat boosts sleep
Losing belly fat boosts sleep

Losing belly fat, can improve the quality of sleep for people who are overweight. A recent study found that weight loss due to diet and a combination of diet and exercise effectively improves sleep. 

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Proper sleep helps us maintain a healthy weight
Proper sleep helps us maintain a healthy weight

Getting quality sleep in sync with our body clocks is important to maintaining a healthy weight, even if we are eating healthy. Researchers have found that a gene responsible for our internal body clock also helps us metabolize food, and therefore disrupted sleep can lead to weight gain. 

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High-fat diets disrupt sleep
High-fat diets disrupt sleep

A study on rats found that the rats on the high-fat diet slept more, but their sleep was fragmented and occured during the normally active phase of the day. The behavior resembled excessive daytime sleepiness often seen in obese people. 

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Partial sleep deprivation leads to weight gain
Partial sleep deprivation leads to weight gain

People who get less than six hours of sleep each night are at an increased risk of developing obesity.  Researchers observed an increase in ghrelin, a decrease in leptin and reduced insulin sensitivity in those who slept less than six hours. 

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Lack of sleep in children can increase obesity risk
Lack of sleep in children can increase obesity risk

Young children who are not getting the proper amount of sleep have a significantly greater risk of becoming overweight or obese, accoring to a study published in the British Medical Journal. For each extra hour of sleep per night, there would be a 0.49 reduction in BMI for a child, and a 61 percent lower risk of being overweight or obese by age 7.