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Will Too Much Sleep Make You Fat?

Last week, you learned exactly how not getting enough sleep (less than about seven hours per night), can cause fat gain, muscle loss, and an inability to control the appetite, but the solution is definitely not to begin sleeping as much as you possibly can.

By
Ben Greenfield,
August 22, 2016
Episode #300

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In last week’s post, you learned exactly how not getting enough sleep (less than about seven hours per night), can cause fat gain, muscle loss and an inability to control the appetite, along with increased risk for a host of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

But the solution is definitely not to begin sleeping as much as you possibly can. Oversleeping may seem like a good idea to fight off the fat gain that can accompany undersleeping, but it’s been shown that sleeping in excess of nine hours per night can be just as damaging to your sleep cycles and your waistline as not getting enough sleep. In this article, you’re going to find out exactly why.

People who oversleep experience a disruption in the body’s natural 24 hour biological cycle (the circadian rhythm) and because of this, oversleepers can experience a number of side effects as their bodies struggle to “sync up” with the correct time, leading to a host of health issues associated with oversleeping, including:

  • Blood sugar fluctuations
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Higher body weight
  • Depression
  • Increased inflammation
  • Increased pain
  • Impaired fertility
  • Higher risk of obesity
  • Higher risk of diabetes
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Higher risk of stroke
  • Higher all-cause mortality

Several of these oversleeping consequences directly affect fat loss! Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Blood sugar fluctuations: Glucose tolerance refers to your body’s ability to process sugars, and something called “impaired glucose tolerance” is associated with insulin resistance (which you learned about in part 1 of this series) and is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  For example, one Canadian study investigated the lifestyle habits of 276 people over six years, and found that people with long (and short) sleep durations were more likely to develop impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes. Another more recent review of diabetes and sleep studies alsofound a significant relationship between increased risk of type 2 diabetes and oversleeping.

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