sleep workplace wellness

Longer Sleep Connected with Reduced Obesity, Improved ‘Metabolic Profiles’

The important role that sleep plays in generating overall personal wellness is increasing notice. Similarly, the role that a well-run workplace wellness program can play in helping promote proper sleep habits has also been noted.

We reported on the association between employee sleep with workplace health and economic outcomes. In this post, we noted a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine looks at the “Association Between Employee Sleep With Workplace Health and Economic Outcomes.”

The study “examines health risks, medical conditions, and workplace economic outcomes associated with self-reported hours of sleep among employees.” And the report concluded: “Worksite wellness programs often address health risks and medical conditions and may benefit from incorporating sleep education.”

Now a new study published in PLOS One finds that “inadequate sleep found to be linked to a higher risk of overweight or obesity, but was also tied to reduced HDL levels,” according to EndoBreak.

The study is titled “Longer sleep is associated with lower BMI and favorable metabolic profiles in UK adults.”

The report notes: “Ever more evidence associates short sleep with increased risk of metabolic diseases such as obesity, which may be related to a predisposition to non-homeostatic eating. Few studies have concurrently determined associations between sleep duration and objective measures of metabolic health as well as sleep duration and diet, however.”

Indeed, the authors begin by noting the extreme burden that diabetes causes personally and worldwide: “Including undiagnosed cases, approximately 4.5 million people in the UK have diabetes, and it was estimated that in 2015 about 415 million 20–70 year old adults had diabetes worldwide. Roughly 24,000 individuals die prematurely each year in the UK as result of diabetes. Diabetes therefore is a large economic burden, costing the National Health Service in the UK about £10 billion in direct costs each year, 10% of its budget. Type 2 diabetes accounts for the majority of diabetes cases and costs, and obesity is the most potent risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Although not all people with obesity develop the disease, obesity accounts for much of type 2 diabetes risk. About 59% of women and 68% of men in the UK are now overweight or have obesity. Obesity predisposes the affected to metabolic dysfunction, and central obesity appears to explain much of this. Metabolic syndrome (comprising central obesity, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, and hypertension) is a cluster of risk factors that also increases risk of type 2 diabetes and is thought to affect about a quarter of adults worldwide. Identifying the lifestyle factors that influence risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes is therefore a public health priority.”

The results were clear: “Consistent with our predictions, sleep duration was negatively associated with BMI and waist circumference, and positively associated with HDL cholesterol levels.” As well: “These findings suggest that among UK adults longer sleepers have favorable metabolic profiles in comparison to shorter sleepers but not substantially different dietary habits.”

The authors’ conclusion: “Longer sleepers generally had more favorable metabolic profiles, despite no associations between sleep duration and dietary intakes in this population. Our findings support the accumulating evidence showing an important contribution of short sleep to metabolic diseases such as obesity.”