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The research team examined how sleep interacts with a number of genes associated with obesity and found that a good night's kip could suppress some of those genes that lead to weight gain.
The genes in question regulate metabolism and can affect how the body stores energy.
More than 1,000 pairs of twins took part in the study and the results showed that for those who slept less than seven hours each night the genetic influence on their body mass index (BMI) was more twice that of those who spent nine hours in dreamland.
Dr Nathaniel Watson, who led the study, wrote in the journal Sleep: "Shorter sleep provides a more permissive environment for the expression of obesity-related genes.
"Or it may be that extended sleep is protective by suppressing expression of obesity genes."
Dr Watson added that the results were preliminary but advised that extended sleep could help mitigate the genetic influences on obesity, thereby aiding the weight loss battle.
What do you think? Will you be getting your nine hours from now on? Leave your comments below...