The study, led by the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine and the School of Food Science and Nutrition, involved 1,615 adults in Britain aging from 19 to 65.
The team collected blood samples from the participants and recorded their sleep duration, food intake, body weight, waist circumference and blood pressure, together with a number of other data to study the relationship between sleep duration, diet, weight and other indicators of overall metabolic health.
The research showed that people who were sleeping an average of six hours each night had waist measurements about 3 cm more than getting nine hours of sleep per night.
This, suggested that those with less sleep weighed more, according to the research article published in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS One.
Researchers believed that the result further proved that insufficient sleep could increase the potential risk of developing diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
Greg Potter, one of the Leeds researchers, said that “the number of people with obesity worldwide has more than doubled since 1980, obesity contributes to the development of many diseases, most notably type 2 diabetes.’’
He thus stressed the importance of “understanding why people gain weight,” saying that it “has crucial implications for public health.’’
The study also showed that shorter sleep was linked to reduced levels of High Density Lipoprotein, HDL, cholesterol in the participants’ blood, which is another factor that could cause health problems.
HDL cholesterol could help remove harmful fat from circulation, which means that high HDL cholesterol levels protect against conditions such as heart disease.
The research was a snapshot based on data observation, and the “findings highlight the importance of getting enough sleep.”
In the end “how much sleep we need differs between people, but the current consensus is that seven to nine hours is best for most adults.”