Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Are you a Night Owl?

Could the time at which you fall asleep have an impact on your weight, regardless of how many hours you sleep? We have an internal clock called the circadian rhythm which aligns with daylight and darkness. Our circadian rhythm regulates physiological and metabolic functions in the body, and could play a major role in weight management.

A new study from the University of California, Berkeley followed 3,342 youths and adults over a 15 year period to determine the correlation    between bedtime and weight. Their findings were later bedtimes, after 10:30pm, increased weight overtime. Going to bed each additional hour later was associated with a 2.1 point gain in body mass index, a measure of weight for height.

A study from the University of Pennsylvania found in just 5 days sleep-restricted subjects who slept 4 hours (4am-8am) gained more weight than control subjects who slept 10 hours (10pm-8am). The sleep restricted group ate on average 130 more calories throughout the day and opted for higher fat foods late at night. Among the sleep-restricted subjects, males gained more weight than females and African Americans gained more weight than Caucasians. Chronically sleep deprived adults with late bedtimes are at greater risk of weight gain and should consider improving sleep habits to reduce their risk.

Finally a study from Northwestern University found people who stayed up late and slept in gained more weight than people who went to bed  earlier and woke up earlier. Late sleepers consumed on average 248 more calories, half as many fruits and vegetables, twice as much fast food, and more soda. The study found the extra calories consumed could result in 2 lbs of weight gain per month if not balanced with more

Insufficient sleep and excessive daytime fatigue is a serious epidemic. When sleep and eating habits are not aligned with the body’s circadian rhythm it could lead to disturbances in appetite and insulin metabolism resulting in weight gain.  It is all about lifestyle; eating and sleeping at regular times could improve the effectiveness of weight loss programs and help those struggling with weight management.

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