Your weight is influenced by both your family history and existing environment. If you're genetically inclined to be on the heavier side and at the same time are constantly surrounded by caloric temptations, you're more than likely to be fighting the battle of bulge unless you make the right moves to prevent it. According to a study published in the journal Sleep, this is not the case when you’re getting enough rest. Apparently, the more hours you sleep at night, the less likely it is that your weight will be affected by genetics and the lower your body mass index (BMI) will be.

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Researchers based their findings on self-reported data from over 600 identical twins and nearly 500 fraternal twins. On average, the participants were 36.6 years old with 66 percent being women. Reports concluded that those who got enough sleep were slimmer than those who slept less. In fact, genetics merely accounted for 34 percent of the variations in weight in those who had longer hours of sleep.

Those who had shorter hours of sleep, on the other hand, possessed a higher genetic risk for increased BMI. If the participants had less than seven hours of sleep at night, genetics would account for around 70 percent of the variations in weight.

At this point, researchers are still uncertain about how exactly genetics impacts our weight. They do speculate, however, that genetic pathways, which influence metabolism and hunger, may have something to do with it. While they’re still looking for that missing link, it wouldn’t hurt for us to help ourselves keep a balanced BMI. Getting more than seven hours of sleep each night is a start, and it's a good idea to incorporate other healthy habits into your lifestyle as well.

(Photo by Victoriia Z via Flickr Creative Commons)

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