[su_dropcap style=”default” size=”3″ class=””]F[/su_dropcap]or the past 10 years, sleep researchers Patel and Hu, have completed extensive reviews of published literature on obesity and sleep between 1966 and 2007. Longitudinal studies have demonstrated that sleeping less than 7 hours or over 9 hours each day increases mortality risk; also long and well known is the high morbidity and mortality of obesity. This evidence provides the foundation for acceptance of a strong correlation between sleep and weight. Compelling results in the journal, Obesity, found a dramatic increase in both weight gain and sleep deprivation in 40 percent of Americans over the past decade. As scientific discovery continues to reveal the relationship between weight gain and sleep, significant experimental studies begin to take shape beginning in 2008.
[blockquote type=”intext”]“…discovered that individuals losing weight and increasing sleep duration also displayed less daytime sleepiness and a reduction in the time to fall asleep”[/blockquote]
Our previous post, Sleep and Weight: What’s the Connection?, discussed a study that linked sleep deficit to weight gain. However, scientist have also studied the reciprocal. One group of experts from the Netherlands, Verhoef and colleagues, studied sleep duration and weight loss in adults. The researchers changed only the diet in the study and did not alter sleep habits. The individuals in this study lost an average of 10% bodyweight and lost body fat . Both short duration (< 7 hours sleep) and normal duration (between 7 and 9 hours sleep) individuals improved their sleep duration by an average increase of 0.7 and 0.2 hours, respectively, after 3 months on the study.
Verhoef and colleagues also discovered that individuals losing weight and increasing sleep duration also displayed less daytime sleepiness and a reduction in the time to fall asleep (due to the neuro-hormone, melatonin). The study demonstrated that weight loss changed sleep duration. The researchers do not know how the weight loss alters the sleep duration. Scientist put forth one theory that sleep-dependent neural dysfunction occurs to cause obesity.
As mentioned, not only does weight gain often result in poor sleep, but the reverse is also true: sleep deficit can drive weight gain. This can perpetuate a negative cycle that can harm health. A study detailing this finding can be found here.
photo credit: FOX via Getty Images
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