Previous research (and common sense) indicated that getting too much or too little sleep was bad for the body and weight. It is generally accepted by researchers that oversleeping contributes to obesity, as it leaves little time for exercise and body functions.

That may not actually be the case, however.

A new study indicates that too much sleep may not play as a big a role in obesity as once thought.

Getting more than nine hours of shuteye can “turn off genetic activity linked to body weight,” since diet and exercise are believed to be linked to weight and longer sleep duration.

“In theory, you have control over environmental factors, so the choices you make may have a bigger impact on your weight the longer you sleep,” Dr. Nathaniel Watson, co-director of the UW Medicine Sleep Center in Seattle, said.

Watson’s team came to the conclusion that too much and too little sleep have adverse affects on weight. They plan to conduct further research on how genes factor into the mix, with a drug that targets obesity being an eventual goal.

[ABC News Radio]