Several recent studies indicate a strong correlation between lack of sleep and weight gain. Based on gathering evidence, scientists have concluded that every lost hour of sleep is associated with a measurable increase in BMI (body mass index – the formula used to calculate your body fat relative to your weight and height.)
While the lack of sleep/weight gain mechanism is not yet well understood, some scientists suggest that it could be from inflammation as the less one sleeps, the more inflammation is triggered. Inflammation is related to many other health issues. Some research focuses on the connection between sleep and the secretion of certain hormones such as leptin and ghrelin which affect appetite and therefore the amount of food one is likely to consume.
The University of Warwick Medical School in England found that sleep deprivation doubles risks of obesity in both children and adults.
In other research sleep has been strongly linked to heart health. A recent Journal of American Medical Association article reports results from a study that followed 495 people ages 35-47 over 5 years. Of those who got at least 7 hours of sleep, only 6% had arterial calcification – an early sign of heart disease. For those who slept 5-7 hours it was 11%. 27% of participants who got fewer than 5 hours of sleep showed evidence of calcification – over 4 times the rate of those who got plenty of sleep.
So do your heart and waistline a favor and get plenty of sleep!
How much sleep do you need?*
Toddlers: 12-14 hours
Preschoolers: 11-13 hours
School-age Children: 10-11 hours
Adolescents: 9-10 hours
Adults: 7-9 hours