Sleep is an essential part of the human body’s routine. Just like eating and breathing, the body cannot do without rest. However, with the hectic lifestyles that people lead today, sleep has become secondary for many, which is resulting in some serious health issues that did not exist as frequently in the past. New research conducted by researchers at the University of Leeds says that sleep deprivation may also lead to bigger waistlines and a higher Body Mass Index (BMI).

Lesser amounts of sleep can increase body weight

Researchers determined after the study that people who slept only six hours each night were more prone to having bigger waistlines and also being obese than those people who slept nine hours daily. The research considered a group of participants who slept only six hours daily against two other groups, in which people slept 7.5 hours and 9 hours each day, respectively. The total number of participants involved in the study was 1,615.

It was discovered that on an average the people who slept six hours had waist sizes 1.18 inches bigger than the group sleeping 9 hours.

The short sleepers were also found to be more prone to weight gain and an overall above normal Body Mass Index or BMI. The good cholesterol or HDL was also found to be significantly lower among these people.

The testing involved regular blood sample tests, waist and BMI measurements, and also the measurement of the participants’ blood pressure. Researchers revealed that across all of the tests, the 6-hour sleep groups showed an overall decline in health when compared to the other two groups.

Researchers also pointed out that they did not find any relationship between sleeping less and eating a worse diet, which indicates that even a person who consumes a balanced diet may be prone to Gaining Weight if the sleeping time is not maintained properly.

Researchers said that the amount of sleep needed varies between people, but the scientific consensus is that adults should sleep for seven to nine hours daily.

However, this study, while informative, still suffers from a few caveats, which should be kept in mind before analyzing the results.

Problems of the study

The study and the results were drawn completely on the basis of self-reports from the participants, meaning the data provided may not have been completely dependable. Another aspect that was self-reported was the diet that these people followed, which again leaves room for some error or wrong information. Lastly, the research was short-term, which only gives the short-term effects of sleep or lack of it. Longer studies may give a better picture of what the lack of proper sleep does to the body.

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