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Struggling to sleep You'll pile on the pounds: Less than five and a half hours is bad for your weight Could explain why night workers who struggle to sleep during the day are more prone to being overweight
01:04 GMT, 12 April 2012
Sleepy: According to scientists, getting less than five and a half hours of sleep a night could see you gain nearly a stone in a year
Have you been getting enough beauty sleep lately If not, this might encourage you to turn in a little earlier.
According to scientists, getting less than five and a half hours of sleep a night could see you gain nearly a stone in a year.
They say that even if diet and exercise habits remained the same, the changes in the body’s metabolism can cause the pounds to pile on.
The team of researchers believe this
could explain why people tend to become larger as they get older and
often struggle to get enough sleep at night.
also think it could explain why night shift workers who struggle to
sleep during the day are more prone to being overweight.
The academics from Boston compared the effects of sleep on 21 volunteers over six weeks.
started off having ten hours of sleep a night but this was then reduced
to just over five and a half hours at any time during the day.
Often volunteers were attempting to doze off during the day time when their body clock was telling them that they should be up and about.
The researchers found that when the subjects were deprived of sleep their metabolism rate dropped by 12 per cent.
Increase: It was calculated that when the volunteers slept for less than five and a half hours they burned off 120 fewer calories that day. Over the course of a year this would lead them to put on 12.5 pounds, just under a stone
This is energy needed to maintain the body’s normal functions such as the lungs breathing and heart beating.
If this rate comes down, less energy or calories will be used up so weight will be gained – even if exercise levels and diets are unchanged.
It was calculated that when the volunteers slept for less than five and a half hours they burned off 120 fewer calories that day.
Over the course of a year this would lead them to put on 12.5 pounds, just under a stone.
The researchers said this could explain why people who work at night are more likely to develop obesity and diabetes. Their body clock or ‘circadian rhythm’ is disrupted so they are unable to sleep as well during the daytime and their metabolism slows down.
Dr Orfeu Buxton, whose study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, said: ‘Since night workers often have a hard time sleeping during the day, they can face both circadian disruption working at night and insufficient sleep during the day.
‘Getting enough sleep is important for health, and sleep should be at night for best effect.’