Want to lose wait but find it hard to hit the gym three times a week or eating 1,500 calories per day? You might not have to do either. New research suggest sleeping more could be enough to keep the flab away.
Research into the circadian clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle shows disruptions to the clock may be linked to metabolic disorders such as obesity and type-2 diabetes.
And researchers say sleeping for eight hours a night and eating during daylight hours could be as important in controlling weight gain as diet and exercise.
Gad Asher, clinician and medical researcher from the Department of Biological Chemistry at Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, presented research to a Garvan Institute seminar on obesity in Melbourne last night that found every cell in the body has a circadian clock.
His research team has discovered that a protein related to ageing and metabolism, called SIRT1, is the missing link between the circadian clocks and metabolism and could be a factor in metabolic disorders such as obesity and type-2 diabetes.
This ties with research that shows shift workers who eat late at night and sleep during the day are more susceptible to obesity.
Improving the body’s metabolism
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With further research, it is possible the SIRT1 protein could become a target for medicines that might improve the efficiency of the body’s metabolism so humans could burn more fat, Dr. Asher said.
In the meantime, he warned those watching their weight that, “if you don’t eat according to the circadian clock, it can lead to obesity”.
It is important to eat during the day and not during the night to maximize the metabolic response to food and keep weight under control, he said.
Shantha Rajaratnam from Monash University’s School of Psychology and Psychiatry wants to test Dr. Asher’s theories on humans in his sleep laboratory, where he studies the sleep patterns of shift-worker groups and how the circadian clock affects their day-time performance.
Research shows that after just a few days of inadequate sleep, a person’s appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin stimulate increased appetite.
Photo by SashaW