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Dublin: 21 °C Thursday 24 July, 2014

Doctors say the best way to curb obesity could be… sleep

The new study has said the key to fighting a whole range of illnesses could be a good night’s sleep.

Image: Woman sleeping via Shutterstock

THE KEY TO fighting some of the biggest – and costliest – illness may have nothing to do with medicine, but could instead be about a good night’s sleep.

Research published in a prestigious British medical journal have found evidence that lack of sleep and disturbed sleep is linked with metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Shift workers and anyone who works outside daylight hours are also more likely to have poor metabolic health, as well as increased rates of chronic illness and early mortality, the research published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology Journal found.

The study found that one of the biggest reasons why people aren’t getting enough sleep is down to the increased use of smartphones and tablets late at night and in bed.

The researchers said that making sure that people are sleeping well should be a target for preventing – and possibly even treating – these metabolic disorders.

Sleep has always been known to be an important factor in allowing the body to replenish – ask any parent for proof – but the new research adds to the growing body of studies which have found that there is a direct causal link between loss of sleep and the body’s ability to metabolise glucose, control food intake, and maintain its energy balance.

The authors of the study said that metabolic health issues are largely dependent on genetics, dietary habits and physical activity.

“In the past few years, sleep loss as a disorder characterising the 24-hour lifestyle of modern societies has increasingly been shown to represent an additional behavioural factor adversely affecting metabolic health,” the authors wrote.

“Meanwhile, on the basis of existing evidence, healthcare professional can be safely recommended to motivate their patients to enjoy sufficient sleep at the right time of day”.

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