Obesity risk for sleep-shy women

womenBroadening waistlines and expanding bellies among Swedish women can be blamed on a lack of sleep, according to new research.

The risk of obesity is also enhanced by frequent short periods of dream sleep or deep sleep according to the study by the Uppsala University. The results of the probe were published in this month’s edition of the scientific magazine Sleep.

“This correlation between a short sleep span and obesity was particularly strong among younger women,” said the study’s author, Jenny Theorell-Haglöw in a report by The Local.

In the study, women who usually had at least eight hours of sleep each night were compared to women who slept less. Around 400 participants took part in the overnight sleep test, which also involved medical examinations and size measurements. The study focused on the length of various stages of sleep as well as total duration.

Women who had just five hours of shut-eye were found to have waistlines on average nine centimetres larger than women who slept for eight hours.

The connection between lack of sleep and obesity could be attributed to a number of factors, said Theorell-Haglow. “Short sleep duration, short dream sleep and short deep sleep disturb the production of cortisol and growth hormones in a way that can contribute to driving body weight upwards. Sleeping less also means more waking time when it’s possible to eat,” she added.

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