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Is there a connection between obesity and sleep disorders?
There is a clear link between poor sleep habits and obesity. In the last few years there have been a number of studies that support those who don't sleep much because they are busy or because they have insomnia are at much higher risk of becoming overweight and obese. 

Never have business meetings right after lunch; or, why carbohydrates make you sleepy
Your mother probably told you that eating a big meal right before bedtime would give you nightmares. Maybe not nightmares, but research has shown that avoiding meals close to bedtime can help reduce sleep disturbances like insomnia or waking up too early. Are there foods that will help improve sleep?

Weight Loss Reduces Symptoms of A-Fib
Atrial fibrillation, or a-fib as it is often called, is essentially an irregular heartbeat. Instead of the electrical impulses governing the heart beat traveling through the heart in an orderly way, the impulses get disorganized, resulting in symptoms that range from imperceptible to feelings of the heart pounding or fluttering, or dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath. 


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Getting enough sleep?

Researchers at the Universities of Iowa and Wisconsin collaborated to assess the possible link between sleep duration and obesity (Arch Intern Med 2006;166:1701-1705). In an analysis of data collected from 990 working adults in the rural county of Keokuk, Iowa, they correlated self-reported sleep time with Body Mass Index.

After adjusting for sex, age, snoring, and other factors, they found an inverse relationship between Body Mass Index and sleep duration. Indeed, those with the shortest sleep time (less than 6 hours per night) had the highest BMI, averaging in this rural population at just over 30 (the threshold for obesity).

Those who got 9 or more hours per night had an average BMI of 28.25 - in the overweight range. For each 1-hour decrease in sleep time, the researchers estimated that BMI increased by 0.42. That may not seem like much, but for a person 5 feet, 10 inches tall (177.8cm), that's an increase of just about 3 pounds (1.34kg).

What this means for you:

Just as small changes in diet or amount of exercise can have a big impact on your weight and overall health, so (it seems) can the amount of sleep you get each night. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night - are you getting enough?

First posted: September 19, 2006