Scientists claim that people with a genetic tendency to pile on the pounds could find that sleeping for longer than nine hours may help to suppress the genes that cause weight gain, while sleeping for fewer than seven hours a night may ‘encourage’ them to store fat.
The study followed more than 1,000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins. Only identical twins share exactly the same genes, so the differences between them allowed scientists to establish whether any weight gain was due to environmental or genetic factors.
The study showed that for twins who slept less than seven hours a night, 70% of weight differences were due to genes, while for those who averaged more than nine hours of sleep, only 32% of the variations were genetic.
The scientists, from University of Washington, concluded that a lack of sleep in hectic modern lifestyles may contribute to obesity by affecting hormones and metabolism. Their full findings and analysis have been published in the journal Sleep.
So whether you get an early night in the week or enjoy a snooze on the weekend, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and your health will thank you for it!