Sleep is vital not only for surviving, but also for thriving. Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine revealed that irregular sleep patterns can lead to unhealthy fat deposits around vital organs. This dangerous fat accumulates around the middle region of the body and is extremely dangerous.
In the study, a clear association was made between an increase in visceral fat (fat around the organs) and lack of sleep for those under the age of 40. What’s more, researches noticed that Hispanic men and black women showed the strongest association between lack of sleep and the increase in abdominal fat.
The same study that found that too little sleep (5 hours or less) was detrimental to health also found that getting over 8 hours of sleep could also cause an increase in visceral fat. Surprisingly, the same findings were not found in participants over age 40.
“We don’t really know yet why this wasn’t seen in participants over 40, but it was clear that, in individuals under 40, it is worse to get five or less hours of sleep on average each night than it is to get eight or more hours,” said Kristen G. Hairston, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism and lead author on the study.
Health Implications of Visceral Fat
There is no doubt about it, being overweight puts a serious strain on all body organs, but no one really talks about visceral fat. Visceral obesity results in fatty acids accumulation in the pancreas, heart, liver, and other organs. This prevents proper organ function, causes improper insulin regulation, and even leads to heart attacks. But don’t stress; if you want to know how to lose visceral fat, try these 4 solutions (in addition to sleeping between 6 and 8 hours each night)!
The Right Amount of Sleep
While it is far worse to get less than five hours of sleep rather than more than eight, the magic sleep number of optimal health appears to be between 6 and 8 hours each night – though amount of recommended sleep does vary with age. The good news is that even though a relationship between obesity and sleep has been established, it is one that can be altered. Changing your sleep habits may be not be easy, but it can be done.