Edited by Sydney Ramgolam

The Institute of Obesity warns us about the increasingly strong relationship between lack of sleep and weight gain. In recent years, obesity has become a principal health problem. Spain is one of the countries where obesity is growing very quickly and despite a good diet, Spanish kids are often overweighted. The most recent calculations by la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) cited billions of adults as overweight and over 300 million as obese. In light of these increasing numbers, there’s been a push to find the link between obesity and the social factors that make it such a widespread problem, but with each investigation it becomes clearer that sleep is an important part of preventing obesity.

Sleep prevents from being fat

According to different studies and publications, people who sleep less than 8 hours per day, and who have irregular eating schedules are at a higher risk of suffering various health problems: obesity, diabetes, premature aging, or even psychological disorders. In Spain this is a severe problem, since people go to sleep late and get up early. A recently published book, Obesity, in which more than 30 international researchers collaborated, affirms that sleeping less upsets the hormonal balance that regulates appetite regardless of age. Lack of sleep in children will cause the same tendency to gain weight as in adults.

A study recently published in the International Journal of Obesity has corroborated this information: those children who sleep less than 7 hours a day show a greater increase in weight than those who sleep at least 8 hours daily. The study also mentions that the situation is worse in Spain where children get barely 8 hours per day on average, insufficient in itself, and also tend to skip important meals like breakfast.

Eating disorder

Not just in the States people have problems to eat the right amount at the right time. Spain has become a country with many problems of eating disorder. Schools complain about an increasing number of diseases related to food. So, one’s lifestyle, which often includes malnutrition and a lack of physical activity in addition to lack of sleep, results little by little in obesity. Another recent study of 500 participants, this one from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research of Oregon (USA), indicates that those who want to lose weight are more likely to achieve their goal if they have lower stress levels and if they sleep between 6 and 8 hours a day.

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