sleep and obesity
A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book, so goes an Irish saying. A recently published study, in the journal Pediatrics, proves that the Irish were unleashing pearls of wisdom when they recommended a long sleep.
The study, headed by a Temple University professor, was an attempt to draw a correlation between the amount of sleep school children have and the children’s weight and food intake.
As you may be aware, childhood obesity has been skyrocketing over the years, and in the US, 17% of children have developed obesity. A confluence of factors, such as super-sized portions, sugary drinks and general inactivity, have been implicated in the surge in the prevalence of childhood obesity. However, the role of other factors, such as the duration of sleep, have not been fully investigated, even though previous studies have often found a causal relationship between sleep and obesity.
The purpose of this study then was to find out how sleep, or lack thereof, could be a contributing factor in childhood obesity.
What are the health benefits of sleep?
Whilst it is known that ensuring the optimum amount of sleep can help combat cancer, heart disease and improve cerebral workings, it is less known that such an activity can also help to maintain weight.
Of all the studies into this area it has been found that those who sleep less are more likely to be overweight. Most recently the British Medical Journey studied 244 children and measured their sleep times and their Body Mass Index (BMI) to see if they could locate a correlation between the two.
The findings highlighted that children aged between three and seven who engaged in the optimum amount of sleep, for their age this constitutes eleven hours, were much less likely to be overweight than those who slept less. Another point of note is how for every extra sixty minutes a child gained in sleep time, the chances of them being overweight fell by nearly two thirds.
Other research in the past has shown similar results. For example Dr Currie‘s studies at the Warwick Medical school have shown that children who got less than the appropriate amount of sleep at 30 months of age were 45% more likely to be obese at the age of seven than their peers who slept for at least twelve hours per night.
Plenty of studies have noted that in younger people there is an association between sleeping less and gaining weight. What do studies show in older adults? Do the sleeping troubles of older people contribute to weight gain?
Americans have been getting fatter for the past 20 years. During the same period, there’s been a shift toward an all-go-all-the-time culture of jam-packed schedules. That much is old news, but what about a relationship between the two? A 2007 paper from the University of Chicago’s Department of Medicine explored how weight gain is linked to sleep deprivation.
Young people are not immune to the sleep-straining pressures of modern life. With an ever-increasing list of commitments, children have been getting less and less sleep in recent years. Meanwhile, obesity in childhood has become increasingly common. Short sleep can increase the risk of obesity and, in turn, the risk of disease in adulthood.
It may come to no surprise to you that studies indicate that easily half of the US population is currently overweight and that a bit more than a third are considered technically obese. It’s also quite interesting to note that since the early 1900’s the amount of sleep that people here in the US have been getting per night has also declined steadily from approximately nine hours of sleep to less than six or even five hours. So what’s up in America?
Have you tried everything and are still not losing weight? Eating sensibly, and getting plenty of exercise, but still the pounds are not budging? Are you getting enough quality sleep? Research has shown a definite link between insufficient shut eye and excess weight. Yes, your dress size can shrink when you add a good night's sleep to your diet campaign. Read on for the link between sleeping and weight loss.
Disclosure: We review and test many products on this site. Nobody pays us to review their product. However, if you end up purchasing one of these products we sometimes receive a small fee from the merchant. This helps to keep the site maintained and running.