Regular Sleep = Healthier Weight

weightGet some good shut eye! A recent study has expanded on the finding that sleep duration is linked to weight gain, as researchers have discovered that a consistent bedtime and wake time can influence body fat.[1] Brigham Young University Exercise Science Professor Bruce Bailey and colleagues studied 300 women over the course of several weeks, finding that those with the best sleeping habits had healthier weights.1

A consistent bedtime and, more importantly, a consistent wake time were related to lower body fat.1 Also, less than 6.5 hours or more than 8.5 hours of sleep per night was associated with higher body fat.1 Overall, quality of sleep is extremely important for body composition.1

The women in the study were first assessed for body composition and given an activity tracker to record their movement during the day and their sleep patterns at night.1 Participants were aged 17 to 26 and were tracked for one week.1

Researchers did not expect to find the link between bedtime and wake time consistency to be so strongly related to body weight.1 Those who had more than 90 minutes of variation in sleep and wake time during the week-long study were found to have a higher body fat than those with less than 60 minutes of variation.1 Also, those who woke up at the same time each morning had lower body fat.1 Overall, staying up late and sleeping in may actually do more harm than good!1

We all have internal clocks, and throwing them off and not allowing a pattern to be followed has an impact on our physiology.1 When sleep hygiene is altered, in influences our physical activity patterns and therefore affects the hormones related to food consumption, contributing to excess body fat.1

The sleep sweet-spot: between 8 and 8.5 hours a night.1 However, sleep quality also plays a large role.1 Effective sleep is better than lying in bed watching TV or playing on your phone. You need to actually sleep to reap the benefits.1 Better sleep quality equals lower body fat.1

You can improve your sleep quality by exercising and keeping the bedroom cool, quiet, and dark.1 Beds are only for sleeping—not for watching TV.1 As people, we often try to do more than we should in a day, sacrificing sleep in the process.1 A good night sleep is needed for success and health.

[1] Nauert, R. (2013). Regular Sleep Tied to Healthier Weight. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 20, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/11/19/regular-sleep-tied-to-healthier-weight/62236.html

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