Lack of Sleep May Lead to Visceral Belly Fat

Lack of Sleep May Lead to Visceral Belly Fat

Recent research reveals that those who don’t get enough sleep may be more likely to gain unhealthful abdominal fat.

Studying 12 healthy adults in the hospital for a few weeks, researchers at the Mayo Clinic were able to manage how much sleep they received and precisely track how much they ate and how much effort they used. In the research, participants varied in age from 19 to 39 and were not overweight.

Everyone was permitted to sleep for nine hours on the first four days. They had to sleep for 4 hours each night for the following two weeks, whereas the other half got to sleep for 9 hours. On the third and final day, both groups slept for three days and nights, sleeping for nine hours a day. There was no restriction on food intake for anybody taking part in the research.

Those who slept fewer than nine hours a night ate an average of 300 more calories per day than those who slept more than nine hours a night. Restricted-sleep participants gained up to 9 percent more belly fat and 11 percent more harmful belly visceral fat, which has been linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and stroke, as well as type 2 diabetes and type 2 diabetes-related complications.

The first study of this kind

The authors of the research claim that although obesity and insufficient sleep have long been associated, this is the first study to establish a relationship between sleep deprivation and how fat is distributed throughout the body.

Sleep deprivation seems to cause fat to accumulate around the organs rather than beneath the skin as it normally does. A lack of sleep throughout the study’s recovery phase was shown to have no effect on visceral fat formation, despite the fact that individuals’ calorie consumption and weight decreased.

In light of the fact that over a third of individuals in the United States don’t get enough sleep, these results were deemed especially significant by the study’s authors and released in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Shift employment and the use of smart gadgets and social networks at night may impair sleep, according to the authors.


Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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