How Sleep Can Change Your Weight

Do you know from family history that you are a good candidate for weight problems? If you are genetically predisposed to being overweight, sleep could be the one area of a healthy lifestyle you are overlooking.

A new study analyzed the habits & body weights of 1,088 pairs of twins to conclude that individuals who sleep at least 9 hours per night have more control over their weight when paired with a healthy lifestyle than those who sleep less.

The researchers found that in the pairs of twins sleeping 9 or more hours per night, environmental factors such as diet & exercise accounted for 51% of BMI differences while genetics accounted for just 32%.

Among the twins who slept less than 7 hours per night, genes accounted for 70% of the differences in BMI while environmental factors accounted for just 4%.

From the study, we can conclude that getting an adequate amount of sleep lowers your genetic predisposition to weight gain, and allows healthy lifestyle choices to take effect in your body.

“The less you sleep, the more important genetic factors are to how much you weigh,” says lead author Nathaniel F. Watson, M.D., co-director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center, in Seattle. “The longer you sleep, the greater the influence of environmental factors like meal composition and timing.”

While plenty of research exists to suggest a link between sleep and a high BMI, researchers could not rule out the possibility that genes are somewhat responsible for the link. By using sets of twins, both identical and fraternal, researchers were able to rule out complications caused by a myriad of different subjects with different backgrounds and risk levels.

Sleep deprivation can put stress on your body, making it impossible to shed extra pounds. Bodies interpret stress in the most basic terms, and slow down the burning of calories to keep you alert.

If you are working toward a beach body this summer, do not forget the impact sleep can have on your overall health. A healthy lifestyle regime should always include plenty of sleep.

If you are overweight and unable or unwilling to use a CPAP, you may qualify for a new research study evaluating the effect of an investigational weight loss drug, in combination with a personalized diet & exercise program, on the severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Click here to learn more.


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