Weight Gain: Late Bedtimes Linked To Increase In BMI

First Posted: Oct 04, 2015 09:48 PM EDT

A regular sleep schedule helps our circadian rhythm stay on track. Even better, going to bed at a regular time could help us maintain a healthy weight; the opposite is also true for those who chronically go to bed late and get few solid hours of sleep.

New findings published in the journal Sleep found that going to bed during the workweek each additional hour later was linked to an increase in body mass index (BMI) of 2.1 kg/m2.

"The aim of the current study was to examine the longitudinal relationship between bedtimes and body mass index from adolescence to adulthood in a nationally representative sample," study authors wrote. "The results highlight bedtimes as a potential target for weight management during adolescence and during the transition to adulthood." 

In this recent study, researchers collected data from over 3,000 adolescents between 1994 and 2009. The participants self-reported sleep information and circadian variables. The study authors also measured height and weight at each wave, from which BMI was calculated.

"The results are important because they highlight adolescent bedtimes, not just total sleep time, as a potential target for weight management concurrently and in the transition to adulthood," Lauren Asarnow, first author of the study and a doctoral candidate, said in a statement.

"Although sleep duration, screen time and exercise frequency did not attenuate the relationship between work day bedtime and BMI over time, fast food consumption was recognized as a significant partial mediator of the relationship between bedtimes and BMI longitudinally," researchers concluded, via The Independent

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