Boy Sleeping in Night Research undertaken at Laval University in Quebec, Canada suggests that sleeping too little or too much can cause weight gain in adults. Optimal amount of sleep is 7-8 hours a night for adults.

Jean-Philippe Chaput, author of the research studied 276 adults between 21-64 years of age. The study involved body composition measurements and self-reported sleep duration.

Further, changes in the fatty indices were compared between short sleeping duration (5-6 hours), average sleeping duration (7-8 hours) and long sleeping duration (9-10 hours). The amount of body changes according to sleeping hours was observed for six years.

Short-sleepers were 35 percent more likely to face weight gain of 11 pounds over that period as compared to people sleeping for a normal duration. While people sleeping for long durations were 25 percent more likely to gain weight.

Researchers suggested that people sleeping for a short duration gained an average 4.4 pounds more, while people sleeping for long duration gained 3.5 pounds more than average sleepers.

“Our study provides evidence that both short and long sleeping times predict an increased risk of future body weight and fat gain in adults. Furthermore, these results emphasize the need to add sleep duration to the list of environmental factors that are prevalent in our society and that contribute to weight gain and obesity,” said Chaput.

Researchers found that short-sleepers and long-sleepers, both face a risk of obesity at 27 percent and 21 percent respectively.

Further Chaput added, “Since preventing obesity is important, a pragmatic approach adding sleep hygiene advice to encouragement towards a healthy diet and physical activity may help manage the obesity epidemic,”

Hence we can say that sleeping for the appropriate duration is one of the secrets of being fit.