Can you sleep yourself thin?
You know you need sleep to rest and repair, but did you know
more z's might lead to less weight gain, too? That's according to a
new University of Washington study, that looked at the weight and
sleeping habits of more than 1,000 pairs of twins.
The study found that those who got less sleep - less than 7 hours a
night - were not only heavier, but also had less control over their
weight than those who got more than 9 hours of shuteye.
The research team found that among twins sleeping less than 7
hours, genes accounted for 70% of the difference in body mass index
(BMI), while environment accounted for only 4% of the difference.
Conversely, among twins getting more than 9 hours of sleep, genetic
influences accounted for 32% of the BMI difference - or less than
half the effect found in the short-sleeping twins - while
environmental factors like diet and exercise accounted for 51% of
the differences in weight.
The conclusion? The less sleep you get, the more your genes
contribute to how much you weigh. The more sleep you get, the less
your genes determine how much you weigh.
The results suggest that shorter sleep provides a more permissive
environment for the expression of obesity related genes. Or it may
be that extended sleep is protective by suppressing expression of
More research is needed to determine which biological mechanisms
are at work and exactly how much sleep is enough to override the
influence of obesity genes, but the results add to the evidence
that adequate sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy
Sadly, you can't sleep yourself thin, but you can sleep yourself to
a point where environmental factors, like diet and activity, are
more important in determining your body weight than genetics.
BeautyHealth & Wellbeing