DALLAS -- The happy spring in Edward Goodman's step is directly linked to suit size and shut eye.

I'm wearing clothes now that I was wearing in the [19]80's, so I realize that I had been gaining weight all those years, the 70 year old said. I don't know if it's because of the sleep apnea, or the other way around.

A new report in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that sleep deprivation, even for a short time, has a terrible effect on the body. After just four nights of sleep restriction to four-and-a-half hours, the fat cells of lean, healthy adults began functioning like an obese or diabetic patient.

Sleep deprivation plays an incredibly important role in people's weight and metabolism, said Texas Health Dallas Dr. Sonya Merrill, And, in fact, if we restrict patients' sleep considerably, they end up becoming insulin resistant over a period of time.

Dr. Merrill, a sleep medicine expert, says most people don't make the connection, even though most of her sleep patients are overweight.

After getting his sleep problems under control, Edward Goodman was able to get his weight in control, too, losing 50 pounds.

I feel better, healthier now than I have felt in years, Goodman said. Maybe 30 years.

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