Late Bedtimes Likely To Trigger Weight Gain, Experts Say

Late bedtime patterns could trigger weight gain, according to a new study conducted by a team of American researchers. The study has revealed that staying up late assisted by an added consumption of extra calories, a phenomenon invariably evident in teenagers as well as healthy adults, are key behaviors which precipitate weight gain. The research observed a distinct correlation between sleep patterns and BMI (Body Mass Index), providing comprehensive insights into the relationship between bedtime and its ensuing influence on teenage and adult BMI. Body Mass Index, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is defined as "a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters."

 (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Findings of the survey comprising over 3,000 participating teenagers and young adults suggest that many teenagers seldom get the recommended 8-9 hour sleep every night, oftentimes leading to tiredness and having trouble concentrating at school.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers over the age of 14 require 8-10 hours of sleep each night, while young adults over the age of 20 need 7-9 hours of sleep respectively. Choosing to stay awake until late hours of night seems to remarkably enhance their propensity to gain more weight in contrast with similar age groups that subscribe to an early and more consistent bedtime routine.

According to researcher Lauren Asarnow, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, the link between obesity and a consistent lack of sleep is profoundly apparent. She points out that the new study is uniquely innovative in its approach and helps ascertain the influence of irregular sleep patterns on body weight over a prolonged period of time.

"Obesity rates going higher each year among both adolescents and adults, and the epidemic of chronic lack of sleep is worsening. Teens are also known to prefer a later bedtime".
A similar study conducted a few years ago revealed that sleep deficiency progressively impairs the brain function and affects emotional stability in human beings. In addition, recent studies have also indicated that young and middle-aged adults who exhibit unhealthy sleep patterns periodically may become more prone to heart disease in later years. Similarly, children with a tendency to experience erratic sleep patterns are more likely to develop obesity compared to those going to bed and rising early. Late sleepers are almost twice as likely to be sedentary and inclined towards spending more time on pursuits that inhibit physical activity.

 (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

According to recent statistics, controlled experiments have revealed that sleep-restricted individuals are likely to gain twice as more weight over a period of time. This may be due to an overall increase in caloric intake during sleep restriction, possibly owing to an increase in the number of meals consumed during late-night spells of protracted wakefulness. Moreover, the measure of calories consumed from fatty diets is exceedingly high during late-night hours compared to any other time of day.

The study is based on an exhaustive research project undertaken to continuously document sleep-related habits of American teenagers over a period of years. Many of its results underscore the importance of adolescent bedtime patterns irrespective of total sleep time. The findings are likely to ensure improved scientific techniques necessary to implement effective and far-reaching weight control measures for teenagers and young adults alike.

Adequate sleep has been considered one of the most fundamental pre-requisites for a healthy life. However, according to research, the number of hours per night has dropped phenomenally among U.S. teenagers over the previous decades. Experts have claimed that adolescent behaviors reflective of an early-hour sleep routine fine tune their bodies towards a more consistent and healthy sleep pattern as they gradually progress to maturity.

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