Monday, June 6, 2011

Night Owls at Risk for Weight Gain and Bad Diet

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Staying up late every night and sleeping in is a habit that could put you at risk for gaining weight. Now, a study has demonstrated a relationship between the timing of feeding and weight regulation.

According to Kelly G. Baron et al, people who go to bed late had shorter sleep duration, later sleep onset and sleep offset and meal times. They also eat more calories in the evening, more fast food, fewer fruits and vegetables and weigh more than people who go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.However, the researchers are uncertain if late sleepers consume the extra calories because they prefer more high-calorie foods or because there are less healthful options at night

The extra daily calories can mean a significant amount of weight gain -- two pounds per month -- if they are not balanced by more physical activity.

According to senior author Phyllis Zee, human circadian rhythms in sleep and metabolism are synchronized to the daily rotation of the Earth, so that when the sun goes down you are supposed to be sleeping, not eating," Zee said. "When sleep and eating are not aligned with the body's internal clock, it can lead to changes in appetite and metabolism, which could lead to weight gain."

The study suggests regulating the timing of eating and sleep could improve the effectiveness of weight management programs.

Journal Reference:

Baron KG, Reid KJ, Kern AS, Zee PC. Role of Sleep Timing in Caloric Intake and BMI. Obesity, published online before print 28 April 2011; DOI: 10.1038/oby.2011.100

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