Study: Sleep Problems Weight Gain Troubles

Deprived sleep can cause weight gain, study found.

Sleep problems weight gain are linked, according to a recent health study. Women who are middle-aged and older with sleep problems are more likely to gain weight. It all comes down to many studies where people who have trouble with sleep are likely to gain weight.

“These findings many not prove a cause-and-effect, they raise the possibility that improving sleep quality might help stave off excess weight gain,” lead researcher Peppi Lyytikainen, of the University of Helsinki, said in a statement. The study included 7,332 men and women who were originally surveyed between 2000 and 2002. Those who said they’d had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep on at least 14 nights in the past month were classified as having “frequent” sleeping troubles.

In addition, the subjects reported their poundage and height during the first survey, then again, five to seven years later. However, many of those studies assessed people at one point in time. This makes it difficult to know, which comes first, the sleep complications or the excess pounds.

New findings from Finnish researchers strengthen the evidence that sleep difficulties are related to weight gain. Reseachers found that sleep annoyances came prior to substantial gain in some participants. The science and technology information service followed more than 7,300 40- to 60-year-old adults for seven years.

They concluded that women who reported significant sleep troubles at the outset generally put on more weight over time than women who slept well. Roughly one-third of women with frequent sleep complications gained at least 11 pounds, versus about a fifth of women with no sleep difficulties at the outset. The link in the women persisted even when the investigators accounted for a number of factors that can affect both sleep quality and gain.

This study included the participants’ body weight at the beginning of the study, their exercise habits and their general physical and mental health. In the beginning 20 percent of women had frequent sleep difficulties. Overall, the study found, those women were more likely to report a “major” gain of 11 pounds or more by the conclusion of the study, in comparison to women who slept well. However, the 17 percent of men who reported sleep troubles were not more likely to put on weight than those who slept without difficulty.

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