A new study by researchers at the University of Leeds finds that insufficient sleep could cause individuals to be obese and have poor metabolic health. According to reports, the researchers involved in the recent study found that UK adults who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese.
It is reported by medical express that the new study found that individuals who are able to get an average around of up to six hours sleep every night were overweight than those who were sleeping for at least nine hours a night. The report also noted that the researchers found that the waistline measurement of the former was 3cm greater than that of the latter.
The researchers believe that the findings are because short sleep is heavier than a light one. According to Science Daily, the study authors are confident that their findings further strengthen the previous evidence that insufficient sleep could lead to the development of several metabolic diseases like diabetes, which is the major health challenge currently faced by the NHS.
The study was conducted by a research team from the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine and the School of Food Science and Nutrition. It was led by Dr. Laura Hardie, Reader in Molecular Epidemiology and involved 1,615 adults, who according to reports recorded their food intake and how long they slept. The researchers took the blood samples of participants as well as their waist circumference, weight, and blood pressure.
It is reported that the researchers not only investigated into the diet, sleep duration and weight of the participants but also checked other indicators of their complete metabolic health including blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and thyroid function. They also checked the relationship between sleep duration and these parameters.
They discovered reduced levels of HDL cholesterol in the blood of participants who slept less. It is reported that this is linked to several health conditions. The report also states that a healthy amount of HDL cholesterol helps the body to eliminate unhealthy fat and thus protects individuals from health conditions like heart disease. But the researchers did not find any association between short sleep durations and a less healthy diet. The researchers were surprised because previous studies on the topic have suggested otherwise.
Dr. Hardie stated that the findings of the new study further reiterates the importance of getting enough sleep as the researchers found that individuals who reported that they were sleeping less were more likely to be obese or overweight compared to those who were sleeping well. She concluded that medical practitioners are not unanimous as to how much sleep is best for everyone as this differs from one person to another. However, many practitioners believe that that seven to nine hours sleep is best for most adults.