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I read an interesting article this week that ties the amount of sleep you get to weight.

Researchers followed nearly 70,000 women for 20 years. They found that women who sleep for five hours or less per night tend to weigh more than women who sleep for seven hours do. These short-sleeping women also tend to gain more weight over the years: They were 32 percent more likely to gain at least 33 pounds and 15 percent more likely to become obese.

The reason for this difference is elusive. Exercise and eating couldn’t explain the extra weight (in fact, women who slept less also ate less). Researchers have a couple theories, though.

First, it’s possible the amount of sleep you get impacts your metabolic rate, or how many calories your body burns while resting. Second, fidgeting could come into play. Those who sleep less may also fidget less.

Why are you reading about this on a mental health blog, you ask? Well, overweight people are more likely to have mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness or inferiority and behavior problems. Severely obese women, in particular, are 57 percent more likely to suffer from depression.  And sleep deprivation and depression are connected, too.

So if you’re overweight and depressed, let’s address your sleep problems. Solving those could be part of your path to health.



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