Too much sleep could make you fat, study shows

30 September 2011

People who like their sleep too much may be at higher risk of becoming obese, a new study has suggested.

A study published in the journal Sleep looked at sleeping patterns of 2,200 youths and monitored their weights and uses of free time over four days.

Researchers from the University of South Australia found that youngsters who went to bed late and got up late were 1.5 times more likely to struggle with their weight in the future than those who went to bed early and got up early.

Furthermore, those who liked to stay up past bedtime were almost twice as likely to be physically inactive.

Co-author of the study Carol Maher, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow with the university, said: "Scientists have realised in recent years that children who get less sleep tend to do worse on a variety of health outcomes, including the risk of being overweight and obese. Our study suggests that the timing of sleep is even more important."

She added that the children in the study had virtually the same amount of sleep but just were subjected to different sleep time schedules.

The national sleep foundation commented that there is no "magic number" to how much sleep a person needs and that it depends on the person and the age group.

Posted by Edward Bartel.

Maher, C, et al., "Sleep Duration or Bedtime? Exploring the Relationship between Sleep Habits and Weight Status and Activity Patterns", Sleep, September 30th 2011.

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