Teenagers who sleep late at night may gain weight over time

teen sleeping late at night

According to a new study, going to bed late at night is linked with increase in BMI or Body Mass Index over time.

If you are particularly a nightowl, then you should necessarily rethink of your sleeping time.

The researchers from UC Berkeley found that teenagers and adolescents who go late to bed have more chances to gain weight than their peers who go early to bed.

For the study, researchers have analyzed the data of 3,300 teens over the years from 1994 to 2009. They have gathered this information from National longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health who has observed and recorded US Teenagers’ influences and behaviors.

Lauren Asarnow, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley and the lead author of the study said, “Obesity is obviously growing among adolescents and adults, and there’s also an epidemic of lack of sleep and later bed time preference in teens. There’s been some literature looking at the relationship late bedtimes and weight gain cross-sectionally, but no one’s ever looked at what happens long term.”

National Institute of Health has specified the BMI for adults, according to which the normal Body Mass Index range for adults must fall between 18.5 and 24.9. The BMI for overweight adult is between 25 and 29.9. A BMI of 30 or above is defined as obesity.

Arsarnow said, “These results highlight adolescent bedtimes, not just total sleep time, as a potential target for weight management during the transition to adulthood.”

Study revealed that for every hour of sleep lost, a 2.1 point increase in BMI is computed. The gain is said to have approximately occurred over a five-year period.

Asarnow said, “Conceivably, if you’re going to bed an hour later, over time you could be shifting BMI categories from normal to overweight, so even a two-point increase could be clinically significant.”

Reserachers said that many teenagers do not sleep the recommended nine hours of sleep, in addition to this; these teens are reported to have had difficulty staying awake in school.

The report said, “The human circadian rhythm, which regulates physiological and metabolic functions, typically shifts to a later sleep cycle at the onset of puberty.”

The findings revealed that the adolescents who go to bed earlier will set their weight on a healthier course as they emerge into adulthood.

Asarnow finally said, “The good news is sleep is a highly modifiable. If you could shift bedtime in the teenage years, you can create good sleep habits and maybe prevent weight gain over time.”

The findings of the study are published in the latest issue of journal Sleep.

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