Many are curious if their obesity is passed down.The heritability of obesity is a concept that points to genetics for the variation of weight in the population.Scientists have discovered a “fat mass and obesity associated” (FTO) gene that is strongly associated with BMI and obesity.

But a fat gene doesn’t have to dash your healthy weight dreams. That is, if you’re willing to get more zzz’s. A large scale study of twins found that those who slept under seven hours a night had greater genetic influences on BMI than environmental factors such as diet and exercise. The reverse was true for those who got more than nine hours of sleep. Specifically, genes accounted for 70% of the differences in body mass index for the sleep-deprived twins, as opposed to just 32% in well-rested participants.

Sleeping more therefore helps your healthy habits like diet and exercise count, while lowering how obesity genes affect you. While those with the FTO gene were found to be around seven pounds heavier, the effects of additional sleep on turning off that gene could help make up the weight difference.

By: carolyn_r