Weight Gain vs. Hours Slept
If you want to stay at a healthy weight, be sure to get enough sleep.
A large study that followed 68,183 women over 16 years found that sleep may be vitally important for keeping the pounds off.
Nurses who are chronically sleep-deprived also gained the most weight. Lack of sleep is a risk factor for obesity.
Nurses who slept less than five hours per night gained an average of 2.5 pounds more than nurses who slept at least seven hours a night over the course of study. Nurses who slept six hours per night gained less weight, but were still at a significantly higher risk of weight gain.
Nurses who slept seven hours did not demonstrate any significant difference in weight gain compared to nurses who slept eight hours.
This shows that when it comes to sleep, seven is the magic number. If you get seven hours of sleep or more per night, you’re sleeping just fine.
But, if this is not a possibility, six hours is definitely better than five hours or fewer.
Sleep & Significant Weight Gain Risk
Researchers also looked at the risk of massive weight gain for different groups. Gaining a few pounds here and there is not optimal, but it won’t dramatically change anyone’s life. Gaining a lot of weight very quickly can significantly influence health.
Researchers found the nurses who slept less than five hours also had a 30% higher risk of massive weight gain as defined by gaining 33 pounds or more.
Those who slept six hours had a much more reasonable 12% higher risk.
7 Hours Per Night is Best
While most participants in the study gained weight over the 16 years of the study, the chart above shows that those that slept fewer hours had a higher weight at every age.
It also shows that sleeping seven hours is the magic number. There is no difference in weight between those who slept seven hours per night and those who slept eight hours per night. However, sleeping less than 7 hours was associated with significant weight gain.
How Much Do People Actually Sleep?
Most of the nurses studied slept between six and eight hours per night. Seven hours was the most common amount of sleep. This means that at least among nurses, most are getting an adequate amount of sleep.
If you want to stay at a healthy weight as you get older, be sure to get enough sleep alongside diet and exercise.
Sleep is essential for good mental health and for good physical health.
When setting a target for how much sleep to get per night, be sure to aim for at least seven hours. The difference between 7 and 8 hours is not significant. However, any amount of sleep below 7 is associated with significantly more weight gain.