Study: Weight Gain Associated With Later Bedtimes

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Marji_041015According to a new study published in the journal Sleep, later bedtimes during adolescence may lead to greater weight gain.

The National Sleep Foundation states that teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 should get about eight to 10 hours of sleep every night; young adults aged 18 to 25 should get approximately seven to nine hours of sleep every night. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 31% of high school students report getting at least eight hours of sleep each night, while nearly 30% of adults report sleeping fewer than six hours each night.

For the study, the research team analyzed data of 3,342 teenagers and young adults who took part in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health from 1994 to 2009.

Participants reported their weekday and weekend bedtimes at three time points: at the beginning of puberty, during their college-aged years, and as young adults. Researchers calculated each participant’s body mass index (BMI) at each point.

The team discovered that the later the bedtime between adolescence and young adulthood, the more weight the subject was likely to gain over a five-year period. Furthermore, for every extra hour a participant spent staying up, there was an increase in BMI of 2.1 kilogram-meter squared (kg/m2).

Lauren Asarnow, the study’s lead author, explains, “These results highlight adolescent bedtimes, not just total sleep time, as a potential target for weight management during the transition to adulthood.”

She concludes that teenagers need to go to bed earlier to set their weight on a healthier course as they transition to adulthood.

Sources for Today’s Article:
Whiteman, H., “Later bedtimes linked to greater weight gain,” Medical News Today web site, October 2, 2015;
Asarnow, L., et al., “Evidence for a possible link between bedtime and change in body mass index,” Sleep 2015; doi: