BOSTON (CBS) – A new report shows inadequate sleep could be making you fat.

Researchers in the United Kingdom found that adults who slept an average of 6 hours a night weighed more and had a waist circumference about an inch larger than those getting 9 hours of sleep a night.

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They also had lower levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol.

While most of us do not get 9 hours of sleep a night, we should all strive to get at least 7 to 8.

That’s because there is growing evidence that chronic sleep deprivation can increase our risk of obesity and metabolic disorders like diabetes and high cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.

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Additionally, there’s more evidence that artificial sweeteners, like Equal and Splenda, may backfire for people hoping to lose weight.

A new study finds that sugar substitutes, when combined with a low carb diet, actually lead to more eating and an increase in the number of calories consumed.

While this research was done in fruit flies and mice, not people, it supports other research suggesting that over time, artificial sweeteners may promote weight gain and not weight loss.

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The reasons why are complicated, but simply stated, when you consume foods that taste sweet but don’t provide calories, your brain eventually believes it needs to consume even more food to compensate which drives you to eat more.

Dr. Mallika Marshall