If you want to lose weight, experts say you need to get enough sleep. Specifically, researchers have reported that women who sleep 5 hours or less per night generally weigh more than women who sleep 7 hours per night.
These findings, presented at the 2006 American Thoracic Society International Conference, showed that women who slept 5 hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain (an increase of 33 pounds or more) and 15% more likely to become obese over the course of the 16-year study, compared to those who slept 7 hours a night.
Those women who slept 6 hours per night were still 12% more likely to experience major weight gain, and 6% more likely to become obese, compared to women who slept 7 hours a night.
This is the largest study to track the effects of sleep habits on weight gain over time; it included nearly 70,000 middle-aged women.
The women were first monitored in 1986, and they reported their weight every 2 years for 16 years. At the start of the study, the women who slept 5 hours or less per night weighed an average of 5.4 pounds more than those sleeping 7 hours. They also gained an additional 1.6 pounds more over the next 10 years. While that doesn’t sound like a significant amount, it adds up. That’s 16 pounds in 10 years, and 32 pounds over a 20-year period.