Most people are aware of the fact that too little sleep affects the body. There is also a growing body of evidence showing that lack of sleep affects your waistline. But not many people are aware that even too much sleep can affect your waistline. Research is showing that weight gain and sleep duration are related in a U shape. Too little and too much sleep could actually make you fat.
Table of Contents for Article
- 1 U-Shaped Relationship
- 2 The U-Shaped Relationship between Sleep and Glucose Tolerance
- 3 U-Shaped Relationship between Sleep and Coronary Heart Disease
- 4 Longer Sleep and Weight Loss
- 5 U Shaped Relationship Between Sleep Duration and Weight Gain
- 6 Optimum Sleep for Weight Loss
- 7 Is Your Sleep Affecting Your Weight Loss Results
Most of the research done on sleep relates to the effects of sleep deprivation. Researchers are now beginning to realize that even too much sleep may have adverse effects on the body. For each of us, there lies an optimum sleep duration at which we reap the most benefits from sleep.
The U-Shaped Relationship between Sleep and Glucose Tolerance
Researchers found a U-Shaped relationships between sleep duration and type 2 diabetes. This study was published in the Journal Diebetologia in 2007 and the Journal of Sleep Medicine in 2008. Researchers concluded that shorter and longer duration sleep times were associated with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose intolerance.
Another study published in the Journal Diabetes Care in 2009 further affirmed these findings. Researchers of that study again concluded that long sleep duration was associated with increased type 2 diabetes risk.
U-Shaped Relationship between Sleep and Coronary Heart Disease
Similar U-shaped sleep relationships were even found for the risk of coronary heart disease. These findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2003 and the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2008. Researchers found an increased risk of coronary heart disease for shorter and longer sleep durations.
Longer Sleep and Weight Loss
Most of the earlier studies on sleep and weight loss looked into the effects of sleep deprivation. One of the few studies that looked at the effects of too much sleep was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008.
Researchers found that those who slept less than 5 hours had a higher chance of being obese than those who slept for 7 hours. These findings were not surprising and correlated with some of the findings of earlier research.
Interestingly, the researchers also found that sleeping 8 hours was associated with obesity. Those who slept 9 hours more likely to have severe obesity.
Researchers concluded that, sleeping less than 5 hours or more than 8 hours was associated with obesity.
Researchers carried out a 6 year study to investigate the effects of sleep on weight loss and fat gain. The findings of the study were published in the Journal Sleep in 2008. Researchers concluded that both shorter and longer sleep durations predicted higher body weight and weight gain. This was independent of starting weight.
The findings of this study was in-line with the U-shaped relationship between sleep duration and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Before the onset of type 2 diabetes, most people experience metabolic syndrome. This is a condition where your body starts needing more and more insulin to drive glucose molecules into your cells. Insulin is a potent fat storage hormone. Long sleep durations caused this glucose intolerance. The high levels of insulin circulating in the body could explain why longer sleep durations lead to weight gain.
Optimum Sleep for Weight Loss
The benefits derived from sleep seem to diminish when one is sleep deprived or sleeps too much. Too little and too much sleep can be harmful to the body. The benefits of sleep seem to follow a U-shaped curve. Based on the findings of the above studies, there also seems to be an optimum sleep duration for weight management. This magic number may be different for different people. I believe that this number may lie somewhere between 6 and 8 hours.
Is Your Sleep Affecting Your Weight Loss Results
If you have trouble losing weight, it may be worthwhile looking at your sleeping habits. You need to find out your optimum sleep duration. As mentioned earlier, it could be different for different people. The optimum point for a sedentary person may be lesser than the optimum point for someone who does weight training. By being aware and with a bit of experimentation, you will be able to find that sleep sweet spot where you get all the benefits that sleep has to offer.
Have you had trouble losing weight when sleeping too much?