It turns out that your bedtime may have something to do with weight gain. According to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, teens and adults who stay up late have a better chance of packing on the pounds.
Just how strong is the connection? A recent study including over 3,300 youths and adults revealed that each hour of lost sleep translated to a 2.1-point increase in BMI index. Study subjects experienced this weight gain over a five-year period.
Researchers say the results highlight the important role that adolescent bedtime may play in future weight gain. More specifically, teens who get to bed earlier might very well be setting themselves up for healthy weight management as adults.
For the study, investigators zeroed in on data that tracked U.S. teens from 1994 to 2009. According to a UC Berkeley press release, they particularly set their focus on three time periods: the onset of puberty, college-age years, and young adulthood. What they found was that the relationship between late bedtimes and increased BMI was consistent regardless of total hours slept—as well as the amount of exercise or screen time they got.
This isn’t the first line of research to examine the relationship between sleep habits and weight management. In 2013, The New York Times reported on a study that drew an association between insomnia and increased eating (which, in turn, led to weight gain). The report highlighted that losing out on quality sleep for just one night actually triggers the brain to respond differently to junk food.