You probably already know that walking around like a zombie isn’t doing your health any favours. Struggling sleepers are at more risk of stroke, heart disease and other cardiovascular disorders. But it seems you might be able to add weight gain to the list.
In a recent study from the University of California, Berkeley, researchers found that teens and adults who are turning in late on weeknights are more likely to gain weight than their peers who head to bed earlier. And this isn’t the first study to find similar results. Other research found that men and women who had at least six hours’ sleep a night and coped well with the stresses of everyday life were twice as likely to lose weight when put on a diet for six months.
For those finding it difficult to get more than five hours sleep a night, this probably isn’t exactly the news you’d like to hear. The team from Berkeley examined longitudinal data from a nationally representative cohort of more than 3,300 youths and adults, and found that for every hour of sleep they lost, they gained 2.1 points on the BMI index roughly over a 5-year period – not good.
“These results highlight adolescent bedtimes, not just total sleep time, as a potential target for weight management during the transition to adulthood,” said lead author, Lauren Asarnow.
In case you’re unaware, a BMI is the measure of body fat based on height and weight, with a healthy adult BMI range approximately between18.5-25. You can check yours out on our homepage here.
The Berkeley study analysed data focusing on three time periods (the start of puberty, the college-age years and young adulthood) and compared the bedtimes and BMI of teenagers between 1994 to 2009. The adolescents in the study reported their bedtimes and sleep patterns, while researchers calculated their BMI based on their height and weight.
The results suggest that adolescents who go to bed earlier will “set their weight on a healthier course as they emerge into adulthood,” Asarnow said.
If it’s not getting to bed on time, but falling asleep that’s the issue, you may want to watch this video on how to get to sleep in 60 seconds.