Confirmed: Sleeping Late Gives You Excess Pounds
written by/ October 26, 2021
If you like going to bed after midnight, we’re afraid we have some bad news for you. A new massive international study shows that going to bed this late is linked to excess weight and belly fat in the population aged 35–70.
Furthermore, approximately 14.5% of the 136,652 international participants from 26 different-income countries had delayed sleeping time (commonly known as night owls). Most of them had a greater general and abdominal obesity compared to the morning larks (people that go to bed between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.).
Additional risk factors for excess pounds were found to be the following:
- Going to bed between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
- Being sleep-deprived
- Taking naps during the day (this particularly applied to women).
Results showed that those who fell asleep after 2:00 a.m. had the highest risk of weight gain, up by 35%–38% compared to the participants with early bedtimes. The sleep-deprived individuals didn’t do any better. More precisely, people who slept less than six hours a night were also more likely to be overweight.
Scientifically speaking, the weight gain effect of sleep deprivation has been proven multiple times. What’s surprising, though, is the fact that daytime naps did nothing to compensate for the lack of sleep! On the contrary, naps further aggravated obesity stats, especially among women.
Nevertheless, there is one potential “silver lining” that we can deduce from the research—Focusing on fixing your sleep-wake schedule can help you treat and prevent obesity.
This may require the same approach as to treating a circadian rhythm disorder since going to bed late usually happens when there’s a circadian misalignment, interfering with your biological functions.
So, improving one’s sleep environment, sleep hygiene, and medicating with adequate sleep aids—herbal extracts or melatonin supplements should probably accompany your weight loss efforts.