Staying Up Late? This Could Be Making You Gain Weight

computer in bed, sleeping

Source: iStock

A lack of sleep can directly affect weight gain — especially during the transition period from adolescence into adulthood. Failing to get the recommended eight to nine hours of sleep during this critical transition can set individuals up for weight gain going into adulthood.

New research from the University of California – Berkeley found a direct correlation between sleep and BMI, or body mass index. According to the study, the researchers found that for every hour of sleep lost, 2.1 points on the BMI index was gained. To find this, researchers analyzed sleep and weight data from more than 3,300 teenagers and adults.

Although the BMI changes did not appear immediately, the research shows that over about a five-year period, the BMI gain was noticeable. Beyond simply getting eight hours, a correlation was also discovered between the time of night that participants went to sleep, rather than just the total sleep hours.

For example, if someone went to bed at a normal time and got eight hours of sleep, they would have better results than someone who went to bed very late at night, slept eight hours and woke up later in the day.

But sleep might be a double-edged sword: While too little sleep can promote weight gain, too much sleep can cause the same outcome. The best option is to find a regular sleep routine and stick to it.

According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep duration can also affect hormones regulating hunger — ghrelin and leptin — thus stimulating your appetite. Another contributing factor might be that a lack of sleep leads to fatigue and results in less physical activity.

For many people, a misconception has formed that the weekends can be used to catch up on sleep. In reality, oversleep on the weekend can cause your internal body clock to become messed up, which might cause you to become more tired come Monday. And as we covered in another Cheat Sheet article, your internal clock has an impact on much more than just feeling like you might fall asleep at your desk.

In order to promote the best sleep for ideal weight maintenance and to promote a healthy body clock, you should sleep somewhere between seven to nine hours a night. Beyond this, sleep patterns during the week as well as the weekends should not be drastically different. Overall, sleep proves to be a crucial part of your health and fitness priorities.

More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet: