Research: Night owls more likely to gain weight

Research wordResearch word

Individuals who stay up late are more likely to gain excess weight.

Napping
man sleeping.

Obesity is a huge problem within the United States and the rest of the world. Researchers are on constant watch for potential ways to help people lose weight. They are looking for tips and medication to help people who are stuck in the rut that is weight gain and obesity. One potential cause of weight gain is poor sleep and who would think that getting a little more sleep might help you reduce with gain and weigh less.

In a study released in 2019, researchers looked at weight gain and sleep habits in adolescent girls​[1]​. Adolescents are stuck in this struggle between the biological need for more sleep and the want to socialize in person and online. Poor sleep is not just a problem of adulthood, both middle school (58%) and high school (78%) age children are struggling to get enough sleep in today society. Anything we can add to our knowledge base to help parents is a good thing.

Obesity.

This point is where the research comes in to help. The study looked at data from a prior study. They included data from over 800 adolescent in which just over 50% of the subjects were female. The data from the study showed that adolescents that prefer to go to bed latter tend to have more weight gain when compared to those that do not stay up late. This was specifically higher in females and not males.

Prior studies have indicated that shorter sleep duration is associated with up to an increased likelihood of childhood obesity. Other studies included evidence that adolescents with shorter sleep durations are more likely to have higher body weight and higher risk of obesity. The results of this new study is not surprising based on these prior results. Sleep is complex and few studies have examined whether sleep traits other than duration and quality also contribute to adolescent. Sleep timing traits are of particular interest because circadian rhythms have been linked to metabolism and weight regulation.

The bottom line: Sleep has a huge impact on weight gain and adolescent weight gain in increasing become a problem around the globe. Improvement is sleep quality and quantity could have a positive impact on both a healthy lifestyle and body weight. Although this research is focused on adolescents, there is no reason the believe that it is specific to that age group or the female gender. I would like to see more research of this topic.

Reference:

  1. [1]
    E. M. Cespedes Feliciano, S. L. Rifas-Shiman, M. Quante, S. Redline, E. Oken, and E. M. Taveras, “Chronotype, Social Jet Lag, and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Early Adolescence,” JAMA Pediatr, Sep. 2019 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.3089
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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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