New research has found that not sticking to the recommended amount of sleep increases the chances of being obese, Joinfo.com reports with reference to Daily Mail Online.
In fact, sleeping for either too much or too little poses the same threat on your waistline, scientists claim.
And the risks of being overweight are widely known, linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various forms of cancer.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow assessed the effects of sleep in more than 120,000 participants.
It is believed to be the first study of its kind to examine the interactions of sleeping habits and obesity genes.
Both long – more than nine hours – and short – less than seven hours – sleeps were looked at.
The findings were compared to those who were deemed to have a normal sleeping pattern of between seven and nine hours a night.
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Long sleepers with a risk of obesity were around 9lbs (4kg) heavier, the study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found.
While short sleepers weighed around 4.4lbs (2kg) more than those who had frequently had a healthy night’s rest.
And the negative effects happened irrespective of diet, health concerns or socio-demographic factors.
The findings showed no clear link between sleep duration and body weight in those with a low genetic risk of obesity.
Study author Dr Jason Gill said: ‘These data show that in people with high genetic risk for obesity, sleeping for too short or too long a time, napping during the day and shift work appears to have a fairly substantial adverse influence on body weight.
‘However, the influence of adverse sleep characteristics on body weight is much smaller in those with low genetic obesity risk – these people appear to be able to ‘get away’ with poorer sleep habits to some extent.’
Co-author Dr Carlos Celis added: ‘It appears that people with high genetic risk for obesity need to take more care about lifestyle factors to maintain a healthy body weight.
‘Our data suggest that sleep is another factor which needs to be considered, alongside diet and physical activity.’
See also: 10 Habits Holding You Back From Health and Weight Loss.