A bad night’s sleep… urgh. That tossing and turning. The whipping the cover off – and then dragging it back on again when your feet turn to ice cubes. When your mind starts racing… you thinking about all the things you have to do tomorrow – things that will be especially hard to accomplish when your eyes are stinging and its a challenge just keeping them open. The angry glare you give your alarm when it finally rings at 7am and you realise you’ve had next to NO hours sleep…
It’s an unpleasant scenario. And it’s just got worse. Because a recent study has uncovered that people who sleep badly at night could gain as much weight as 3cm to their waists.
Dr Laura Hardie, Reader in Molecular Epidemiology at the University of Leeds, led the study, which quizzed 1,615 adults on the amount of time they slept each night and what their food consumption was. Overall metabolic health – eg blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar and thyroid function – was also assessed.
The results, published in the PLOS One journal, found that those who slept roughly six hours a night had an extra 3cm on their waists when compared to those who slept for nine hours.
Those who slept for even less time were reported as being ‘heavier’ too.
What was surprising about the study, however, is that it did not uncover a link between less sleep and bad diet (other research has shown reduced sleep makes for unhealthy food choices). It therefore supports the theory that less sleep can lead to such metabolic conditions as diabetes.
Hardly encouraging reading. If you don’t get enough sleep – seven to nine hours is best – it might be time to start tackling your sleeping patterns… Inform your housemates that from now on, you shall be taking leisurely baths before bedtime to help ease you into sleep mode. And if they dare question you on this, calmly direct them towards this study.