Weight Gain Tied to Lack of Sleep

Weight gain could be linked to lack of sleep, according to a new study.  People under 40 who regularly get an average of five hours of sleep or less a night are at increased risk of accumulating abdominal fat.

A lack of sleep could have greater consequences than just puffy eyes – it can also keep you from losing weight.

According to a new study, people under 40 who regularly get an average of five hours of sleep or less a night are at increased risk of accumulating more abdominal fat.

Researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine have found a clear link between study participants who did not get enough sleep and the buildup of fat around the organs, called visceral fat, which increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

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The study included more than 1,000 black and Hispanic participants ages 18 to 81. Those who were 40 and younger, and slept less than five hours a night or more than eight hours per night, had a higher BMI and higher concentrations of abdominal fat when compared to people who slept six to seven hours a night.

Lead researcher Dr. Kristen Gill Hairston noted that scientists don’t yet know why the physiological changes weren’t seen in participants over 40, but said, “it was clear that, in individuals under 40, it is worse to get five or less hours of sleep on average each night than it is to get eight or more hours.”

The study also showed that people who slept less hours a night consumed more calories than those who got an average of seven hours of shut eye. Researchers believe that the tendency to consume more calories, combined with a lack of physical activity due to tiredness the next day, help explain why less sleep can lead to more belly fat.

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