Scientists have found a way to manipulate the genetic factors which help define weight. In a study of 1088 pairs of twins, it was found that sleeping for less than seven hours per night was linked to a higher bodyweight, and sleeping for nine hours or more was associated with lower body weight.
There are a number of genes associated with obesity. They affect how the body stores fat, the feeling of being full after eating, how the body uses energy and how quickly sugar is used up. The influence of these genes on the body mass index (BMI) was twice as great in those who slept for less than seven hours, compared with those who slept for more than nine hours, meaning that it may be possible to partially negate a genetic predisposition to obesity.
More tests still need to be done, but the lead author of the study, Dr Nathaniel Watson, has suggested that weight loss measures, such as dieting, may be more effective when coupled with extended sleeping hours.
To find out more read The Telegraph article Sleeping for more than nine hours may help weight loss.