Middle-aged women who suffer from sleep disorders are more likely to have problems with their weight than their peers who enjoy the recommended eight hours a night, it has been claimed.
A team working at the University of Helsinki looked into the sleeping habits and weights of around 7,300 women aged between 40 and 60 over a seven-year period.
They found that around one in three of women with frequent sleep problems gained at least 11 pounds in weight over the course of the study.
In comparison, just one in five of those women who slept consistently well were seen to put on such an amount of weight.
Lead researcher Peppi Lyytikainen told Reuters Health that this correlation could be down to the fact that sleep disorders could affect the chemicals that dictate appetite.
He added that more work needs to be done to ascertain whether poor levels of sleep make people more susceptible to weight gain, or whether carrying a few extra pounds increasing the likelihood that they will struggle to get a good night's sleep.
At the same time, scientists working at Washington University in St Louis in America have reported that getting a full night's sleep helps the brain's 'prospective memory' powers, thereby helping people to remember what they need to do in the future.