Are you finding it difficult to lose weight. Do a quick check to determine your average sleeping hours in the last 7 days. If you have slept less than 5 or 6 hours, you could be causing imbalances in your body that are disrupting your weight loss efforts.
Table of Contents for Article
- 1 Sleep deprived society
- 2 Shorter sleep and weight loss
- 3 Sleep and weight loss research from a large Japanese study
- 4 Sleep and weight loss research from The Nurses’ Health Study
- 5 Sleep and Weight Loss Findings from the NHANES 1 Study
- 6 Sleep and weight loss research from the Korean KNHANES study
- 7 Shorter sleep affects your waistline
- 8 Why shorter sleep disrupts your weight
- 9 How Much to Sleep
Sleep deprived society
Over the past 4 decades, daily sleep duration in the United States population has decreased by 1.5 to 2 hours. This was confirmed in the findings of a poll published by the National Sleep Foundation. The poll showed a downward trend in the proportion of adults who reported sleeping more than eight hours a night on weekdays. This proportion reduced from 38% in 2001 to 30% in 2002 and 26% in 2005.
We live in a sleep deprived society. With sleep deprivation comes a host of health problems. In trying to do as much in a day as possible, you could be sacrificing your sleep. But this sacrifice has a price associated with it. Sleep deprivation will affect your waistline. Over the years, there has been a lot of research on the effects of sleep deprivation on weight loss. Some of the more recent research on sleep and weight loss are provided below.
Shorter sleep and weight loss
Much of the research on sleep and weight loss is published in the Journal Sleep. Let us look at what some of the research in the recent years has uncovered about sleep and weight loss.
One of the earlier studies was conducted in 2004 and published in the Sleep Journal in the same year. 496 young adults participated in this study to assess the effect of sleep on weight loss. The participants were interviewed when they were aged 27, 29, 34 and 40. Trained health professionals gathered the necessary data through these interviews. The downside to this study was that most of the feedback was self-reported. There is a tendency for self-reported facts to be skewed at times.
Researchers of this study found that short sleep duration was indeed linked to higher obesity levels. Researchers also found trends where there was weight gain when sleep was reduced.
Sleep and weight loss research from a large Japanese study
Another study was published in 2010 in the Journal Sleep. This Japanese study had 35,000 participants. The participants were employees of a power company in Japan. The participants had their weight measured at annual health checkups in 2006 and 2007. Sleep duration was self-reported. Not surprisingly, a higher incidence of obesity was observed among the groups with shorter sleep duration.
Sleep and weight loss research from The Nurses’ Health Study
Another study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2006. The authors investigated the association between self-reported sleep duration and subsequent weight gain in the Nurses’ Health Study. The 68,183 women who reported on their habitual sleep duration in 1986 were followed for 16 years. Researchers found that short sleep duration was associated with an increase in future weight gain.
Sleep and Weight Loss Findings from the NHANES 1 Study
Researchers extracted relevant information from the NHANES 1 study. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. Researchers had a large pool of participants and the findings of the study was published in the Journal Sleep in 2005.
The participants first had their weight measured between 1982 and 1984. Subsequent weigh-ins were self reported and done in 1987 and 1992. Researchers found that participants between the ages of 32 and 49 years with self-reported sleep durations of less than 7 hours had higher average body mass indexes. These participants were also more likely to be obese than subjects with sleep durations of 7 hours.
Researchers could not find conclusive evidence if sleeping more than 7 hours had an effect on the waistline. So while short sleep duration did seem to have an effect on weight management, longer sleeping durations did not yield the same results.
Sleep and weight loss research from the Korean KNHANES study
A study was presented at the Obesity Proceedings in 2009. This study aimed to investigate the association between sleep duration and general obesity in Korean adults. A total of 8,717 adults aged 20 to 65 years from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) were included. researchers found that those sleeping less than 5 hours a day had the highest BMI and waist circumference compared with those sleeping 7 hours per day.
Shorter sleep affects your waistline
The research on shorter sleep and weight loss has been consistent. All of the studies conducted thus far have shown that shorter sleep duration affects the waistline. Researchers from the Nurses’ Health Study went so far as suggesting that if you sleep less today, you could probably be overweight in the future. Researchers are now looking into why sleep deprivation affects your waistline.
Why shorter sleep disrupts your weight
There have been many theories put forward as to why this happens. Some experts have attributed this effect to increased food consumption as sleep deprived people are awake for more hours. When you are awake for more hours, you have more opportunities to eat. This may be a flimsy theory and may not be the real reason.
Sleep deprivation causes hormonal imbalances that end up disrupting your body’s metabolism. This could be a more plausible reason for the effect that sleep deprivation has on your waistline. I would like to cover the possible causes in a future articles as this again is a very interesting discussion.
How Much to Sleep
Try sleeping between 6 to 8 hours. Too much sleep may also affect your weight and I would cover this in a future article. A safe bet would be 6 to 7 hours. Anything less than 5 hours definitely spells trouble for your waistline.