A recent study from the University of Leeds showed that people who were sleeping on average around six hours a night had a waist measurement that was 3cm greater than individuals who were getting nine hours of sleep a night. And shorter sleepers were heavier too. The results strengthen the evidence that insufficient sleep could contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
Previous studies have shown that poor quality sleep and lack of sleep contributes to obesity through poor dietary choices - namely the types of food people consume and their portion sizes. In this study, the researchers found a new metabolic link relating to sleep - shorter sleep was linked to reduced levels of HDL cholesterol in the participants’ blood – another factor that can cause health problems. HDL cholesterol is ‘good’ cholesterol that helps remove ‘bad’ fat from the circulation. In doing so, high HDL cholesterol levels protect against conditions such as heart disease.
Dr Hardie said: “Because we found that adults who reported sleeping less than their peers were more likely to be overweight or obese, our findings highlight the importance of getting enough sleep.
"How much sleep we need differs between people, but the current consensus is that seven to nine hours is best for most adults.”