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Sleep Habits Can Genetically Influence Weight, Study Says

05/02/12

  05:05:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 215 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Sleep Habits Can Genetically Influence Weight, Study Says

It’s universally accepted that proper diet and exercise can help people stay in shape. Also benefical in keeping off the pounds – an extra hour or two sleep each day. And a new study suggests that slumber habits can actually modify genetic and environmental influences on BMI (body mass index).

According to Medical News Today, researchers from University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center in Seattle used self-reported data from identical and fraternal twins about their sleep patterns as well as their weight and height. Two-thirds of the participants were women, and their average age was 36.6 years.

The authors found that:

  • The participants who slept at least nine hours per night were slimmer than those who slept less.
  • Participants who slept less than 7 hours per night had a higher genetic risk of a greater BMI
  • For those sleeping over nine hours per night, genetic factors accounted for approximately 34% of variations in weight
  • For participants sleeping less than 7 hours each night, genetic factors accounted for about 70% of variations in weight
  • For participant sleeping between 7 to 9 hours each night ("normal” sleep), genetic factors accounted for about 60% of variations in weight

Neurologist and lead author Nathaniel Watson said that while BMI and sleep are both inherited features, variations in the twins’ weight could be linked to their sleep duration.

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