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Research Shows Link Between BMI, Sleep Patterns

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DETROIT (WWJ) - The benefits of a good night’s sleep to overall health have long been reported. Now, new research has emerged relating to the role gender and weight management play in overall sleep patterns.

The observational study, which was conducted by the Northwestern University Comprehensive Center on Obesity sheds new light on the relationship between BMI and sleep between gender and weight classes.

Results from the study provide additional insights into the differences between men and women’s sleep times and how their weight can impact the amount of sleep they get.

The purpose of the study was to evaluate differences between genders and sleep duration across a wide range of BMI categories. It represents one of the largest epidemiological studies to illustrate a link between BMI and sleep using actual measurements taken from the body.

Key findings:

  • Although there is wide variation, there are significant differences in mean sleep time between certain BMI categories.
  • Gender is an important factor in explaining the relationship between sleep and BMI.
  • Overall, people with higher BMIs had less sleep, but the increase in weight and sleep is more closely related in women than men.
  • Among adults in the BMI range of 18.5 to 40, women get 20 minutes more sleep per night than men on average.
  • The largest difference in sleep time was seen between Class I and Class II obese groups of males, with a decline of 11 minutes for men in Class II. (Class I = BMI of 30-34.9; Class II = BMI of 35-39.9)

Sleep and weight management are closely linked. A number of previous studies have shown that getting enough sleep is critical in suppressing appetite and maintaining energy. Despite this, only 46 percent of Americans are aware of the link between weight and sleep and only 26 percent consider sleep as a factor in losing weight.

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