Getting more sleep was found to reduce the effects that genes can have on weight gain in a new study. Dr. Nathaniel Watson of the University of Washington in Seattle, who headed up the research, and his colleagues, tracked the weight and amount of sleep that 1,088 sets of twins got, and compared the results.
When their participants slept for less than 7 hours of sleep a night, 70% of their weight difference was gene related. However, in those twins that got over 9 hours of a night, genes were responsible for only 32% of the different in weight. While there are many factors such as exercise and environment, pre-disposition because of genes has long since been thought to affect the chances of someone becoming obese.
Watson had this to say about their findings, “The results suggest that shorter sleep provides a more permissive environment for the expression of obesity related genes. Or it may be that extended sleep is protective by suppressing expression of obesity genes.” This study is particularly interesting, because it is the first time that a connection was drawn between a lack of sleep and weight gain, when participants had identical genes.