Sunday, March 14, 2010

Too much or too little sleep ups belly fat

Sleeping too little or too much can place young adults at an increased risk of putting on weight along their waistlines, a new study finds. Previous studies had linked insomnia and lack of sleep to weight gain and higher risks of developing diabetes and heart disease in the long run.

According to the study published in Sleep, black and Hispanic adults younger than 40 who slept for five hours or less each night are more likely to gain abdominal fat particularly the visceral fat that accumulates around the organs.

The same finding was reported in those who slept for eight hours or more each night; the condition, however, was less substantial.

No such relation was reported among minorities aged 40 years and more, the study found. Sleep duration is believed to affect the body mass index through influencing the levels of appetite-regulating hormones or the individual's mood or capability to exercise the next day.

"Appropriate amounts of sleep are important for maintenance of healthy weight," concluded lead researcher Kristen Hairston.