Bristol University researcher Shahad Taheri has released a new study that links shorter amounts of sleep to obesity in children and adults. The study says that the habit being formed by kids and adults to stay up later and get less sleep is one of the causes in higher obesity rates among the population which is one of the reasons why televisions, computers, mobile phones and other gadgets should be banned from children’s bedrooms.

According to the study, lack of sleep early in life will cause metabolic changes that may play a later factor in health issues such as obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease. It could also alter the body’s natural mechanisms on appetites and how the body uses energy. A similar study conducted in the UK last year found that lack of sleep infants could lead to obesity by the time the child was seven years old.

Another study conducted by Taheri in 2004 found similar results in adults and teenagers that slept for fewer hours each night. The study found that adults that only slept for five hours a night produced 15% more ghrelin which is a hormone produced by the body to signal hunger as opposed to the amount of ghrelin produced by adults that got eight hours of sleep a night. The study also found that those same adults that only got five hours of sleep a night produced 15% less Leptin which is another hormone produced by fat tissues in the body when it is tired.

Obesity may be linked to shorter sleeping times (Reuters)

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