May 17, 2009
Short Sleepers Weigh More

Another report that suggests getting enough sleep reduces your risks of obesity.

Could sleep be a critical component to maintaining a healthy body weight? According to new research to be presented on Sunday, May 17, at the American Thoracic Society’s 105th International Conference in San Diego, body mass index (BMI) is linked to length and quality of sleep in a surprisingly consistent fashion.

As part of the Integrative Cardiac Health Project at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, researchers analyzed the sleep, activity and energy expenditures of 14 nurses who had volunteered for a heart-health program at the Walter Reed, where the nurses were employed. The program included nutritional counseling, exercise training, stress management and sleep improvement.

Each participant wore an actigraphy armband that measured total activity, body temperature, body position and other indices of activity and rest.

“When we analyzed our data by splitting our subjects into ‘short sleepers’ and ‘long sleepers,’ we found that short sleepers tended to have a higher BMI, 28.3 kg/m2, compared to long sleepers, who had an average BMI of 24.5. Short sleepers also had lower sleep efficiency, experienced as greater difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep,” said lead investigator Arn Eliasson, M.D.

Are we too busy to get enough sleep and hence we weigh more?

In this study overweight people burn more calories but still weigh more.

Surprisingly, overweight individuals tended to be more active than their normal weight counterparts, taking significantly more steps than normal weight individuals: 14,000 compared to 11,300, a nearly 25 percent difference, and expending nearly 1,000 more calories a day—3,064 versus 2,080.

However, those additional energy expenditures did not manifest in reduced weight.

Both new moms and children who get less sleep put on more pounds.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 May 17 11:40 PM  Brain Appetite

Eugen.R said at May 18, 2009 12:15 AM:

Let me guess, the short sleepers eat while they are awake, net intake of calories are higher.
A late night snack might also be a culprit. Mystery solved.

Tim said at May 18, 2009 6:01 AM:

How long is "long sleep" or "short sleep"??

Charles Iliya Krempeaux said at May 18, 2009 8:18 PM:

I have no source to site for this, other than I was told this by a Kinesiologist. And was told this in the context of weightlifting.

What I was told was that when one enters REM sleep, one starts to produce Growth Hormone. And Growth Hormone "cuts" fat. If you don't sleep enough to enter REM sleep, and start growth hormone production, you'll start putting on fat.

As a person who weight lifts and goes to the gym about 6 days a week, I (and even other regulars at the gym) have seen this phenomena many times. I.e., despite not changing ones weight lifting and exercise routine, not getting enough sleep can see you putting on fat.

Parish Mozdzierz said at May 23, 2009 5:29 PM:

Correlation ain't necessarily causation. Sleep apnea, common among fatties, could easily disrupt sleep.
Other factors, stress or whatnot, could cause loss of sleep and increased weight gain.

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