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Besides better skin, a happier mood and a healthier you, getting enough sleep every night has plenty of benefits for the human body. 

In fact, according to a study published in PLOS One, a scientific journal, takes a stab at this question by studying the relationship between sleep duration and a number of quantifiable factors – waist circumference, blood pressure, lipids, glucose, thyroid hormones and other important measures of a person’s metabolic profile.

People in the study who slept an average of six hours each night had waist measurements about 3cm more than those getting nine hours of sleep a night. Those with less sleep also weighed more.




small waist

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The relationship between more sleep and smaller waists and a lower body mass index (BMI) appeared to be almost linear.

The findings appear to contradict other studies that show that too much sleep – nine hours or more – might have a similar impact on the body as too little sleep.

This new study appears to show that waist circumference and BMI are lowest for those with 12 hours of sleep.

The theory of why this relationship exists has to do with two hormones that help tell you when to eat and when to stop.

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Less sleep upsets the balance, making you eat more. Combine this with the slower metabolism that people with lack of sleep appear to have, and it is no wonder that they are prone to becoming larger and gaining weight.

So, if you’ve been struggling to get enough sleep at night, here are some things you might want to avoid doing in the day that could potentially upset your sleep cycle


1. You eat desserts too close to bed time


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As much as we all love our desserts, having a scoop of ice cream too close to bed time could disrupt your sleep cycle and interfere with the restorative effects that sleep has on the body.

This is because the digestive system requires time to break down the high amounts of saturated fat and sugar that can be found in desserts.


2. You’ve been eating plenty of spicy food

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Singaporeans love their spicy food but, the high levels of capsaicin often found in chili could interfere with the gastric juices in the stomach, causing acid reflux.

To prevent any food item from interfering with your body clock, stop eating after 9pm every night and go for walks after dinner if possible. It not only eases any bloating you could be feeling but also helps promote healthy bowel movements too.


3. You drink too much

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It’s a known fact that a little bit of alcohol can make it easier for you to fall asleep at night but, too much could decrease the quality of sleep you’re getting. 

Quality sleep refers to the amount of hours you get Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. During REM sleep, your body relaxes and the tension in muscles are relased, giving you better, more restful sleep.


4. You’re drinking too much water before bed

drinking water

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This one’s pretty obvious. Drinking too much water before bed could potentially cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.


5. You don’t have a routine

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Humans are creatures of habit so not having a proper routine before bed could actually disrupt sleep even more.

To smart small, try to set a bed time for yourself and give yourself about 30 to 45 minutes of buffer time when you’re first starting to set yourself a routine. For example, if your bed time is 11pm, start to relax by 10.30pm and turn off the TV. The latest you should fall asleep is by 11.30pm 

This article was originally published in The Singapore Women’s Weekly. With additional reporting from The Straits Times.