People who sleep for six hours a night or less are more likely to have an extra inch round their waists, new research suggests.
Shorter sleep was also linked to reduced levels of good cholesterol which helps remove fat from the body and protects against conditions like heart disease.
For the study, the team involved 1,615 adults who reported how long they slept and kept records of food intake.
The study found out that people who were sleeping an average of six hours a night and a waist measurement that was three centimeters greater than people who were getting nine of hours of sleep a night.
“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,” said Laura Hardie from the University of Leeds in the UK.
“Obesity contributes to the development of many diseases, most notably type-2 diabetes. Understanding why people gain weight has crucial implications for public health,” said Greg Potter, a researcher at Leeds.
The results strengthen the evidence that insufficient sleep could contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
Most of us need around eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly, but some need more and some less.
“How much sleep we need differs between people, but the current consensus is that seven to nine hours is best for most adults.”
A good night’s sleep helps improve concentration and memory formation, allows your body to repair any cell damage that occurred during the day and refreshes your immune system, which in turn helps to prevent disease.
The findings add to the growing body of evidence showing just how important a good night’s sleep is to health.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.