July 12, 2006
Less Sleep Increases Obesity

Fight the battle of the bulge by getting enough sleep.

Research by Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick has found that sleep deprivation is associated with an almost a two-fold increased risk of being obese for both children and adults.

Early results of a study by Professor Francesco Cappuccio of the University of Warwick's Warwick Medical School were presented to the International AC21 Research Festival hosted this month by the University of Warwick.

The research reviewed current evidence in over 28,000 children and 15,000 adults. For both groups Professor Cappuccio found that shorter sleep duration is associated with almost a two-fold increased risk of being obese.

The research also suggests that those who sleep less have a greater increase in body mass index and waist circumference over time and a greater chance of becoming obese over time.

This result is consistent with other studies. See my previous posts Lack Of Sleep Linked To High Blood Pressure, Other Risks and Sleep A Lot To Avoid Burn-Out From Stress And To Stay Skinny.

Update: If you get enough sleep your mind will probably do a better job of memory formation as well.

In the new work, the researchers studied the influence of sleep on declarative memory in healthy, college-aged adults. The results demonstrated a robust effect: Compared to participants who did not sleep during the trials, those who slept between learning and testing were able to recall more of the original words they had learned earlier. The beneficial influence of sleep was particularly marked when participants were presented with the challenge of "interference"--competing word-pair information--just prior to testing. A follow-up group further demonstrated that this sleep benefit for memory persists over the subsequent waking day. This work clarifies and extends previous study of sleep and memory by demonstrating that sleep does not just passively and transiently protect memories; rather, sleep plays an active role in memory consolidation.

I wonder whether people could learn more if they napped a few times a day between learning exercises.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 July 12 10:40 PM  Brain Appetite

James Bowery said at July 13, 2006 7:29 AM:

Running the software department for automated ordnance inspection at SAIC I had one sleeping closet for every 2 programmers and told any programmers who needed sleep they shouldn't push themselves -- just go sleep. And I set an example by sleeping on the job myself. Sometimes I'd have to order a programmer to go take a nap. Power naps aren't optimal and they do cost the company money but they don't cost _nearly_ as much as code written by bleary programmers, and when the stuff you're automating kills people you really want to make sure that it kills the _right_ people.

Robert Schwartz said at July 13, 2006 8:23 AM:

I am living proof that this theory is wrong.

Robert Silvetz said at July 13, 2006 10:10 PM:

This jives with my experience. Having had to recall ridiculous amounts of stuff during college it didn't take me long to realize that I had to have a good 8 hours of sleep before those merciless medical exams. In fact, my worst all-time experience was having to take a test post-call, and I did miserably. The same test, 6 weeks later on make-up, I blew through easily.

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