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Sleep More Than Nine Hours to Lose Weight

Update Date: May 01, 2012 11:56 PM EDT

Sleeping more may help you lose weight, according to a recent study.

Obesity is linked with many complex factors, and researchers have found out that sleeping more than nine hours a night seem to turn off genetic factors that makes people to gain weight. The study was published online on Tuesday in Sleep.

"The longer you sleep, the less important genetics become in determining what you weigh," said Dr. Nathaniel Watson from the University of Washington who co-directed the study.

"In theory, you have control over environmental factors, so the choices you make may have a bigger impact on your weight the longer you sleep," Watson said.

Researchers have studied 1,088 pairs of Caucasian female twins, with an average age of 36.6. Around 38 percent of the pairs were identical twins. The study examined about their weight, height, and sleep patterns.

The study has shown that getting more than nine hours of sleep appears to suppress genetic influence on body mass index (BMI), while getting less than seven hours increases the genetic influence. For those who sleep more than nine hours, only 32 percent of weight variation is attributed to genes, while around 70 percent of differences in BMI are accounted for those who sleep less than seven hours.

Consequently, the study suggested the busy lifestyle of the modern life may have increased the obesity.

"Indeed, over the past century habitual sleep duration has dropped 1.5 hours per night and since 2001 the percentage of US adults getting at least eight hours of sleep per night on weeknights has fallen from 38 percent to 27 percent," they wrote.

The study did not attempt to find how the specific genetic pathways worked. According to Watson, that will be for the next research.

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