Can late nights cause weight gain?

By Kate Hassett

Can late nights cause weight gain?
New studies have shown that progressively experiencing late nights could lead to weight gain.

Frequent late nights could be associated with weight gain in teenagers, according to a new study. Researchers in the US released findings that pointed to an increase in body mass index, depending on how long the teenagers remained awake.

Published in the Sleep journal, the study followed the sleep habits of more than 3,000 participants, monitoring their weight and bedtimes.

Researchers were quick to point out that BMI does not distinguish between lean muscle and fat, however, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, found that teens and adults who were continually making it to bed late at night, were more likely to gain weight than their peers who went to bed earlier.

Further research has attested to the fact that men and women who have at least six hours of sleep a night were better equipped to face life’s challenges like stress and mental exertion and were twice as likely to loose weight when focussing on their health.

Lead author Lauren Asarnow, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, said: “The results are important because they highlight adolescent bedtimes, not just total sleep time, as a potential target for weight management concurrently and in the transition to adulthood.”

The study incorporated data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health between 1994 and 2009 and followed participants between the ages of 12 and 32.

The participants were in charge of reporting and recording their sleeping patterns whilst the research team focussed on recording the weight and height of each participant at selected intervals.

The results showed that adolescents who focus on getting to bed earlier will “set their weight on a healthier course as they emerge into adulthood,” said Asarnow.

The authors believe their study is the first of its kind to investigate the relationship between bedtime and BMI longitudinally, as researched through an observational study.

Having problems getting to sleep? Try our surprising tricks to falling asleep here. 




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