STATES CHRONICLE – In a culture obsessed with losing weight, the answer might be surprisingly easy. According to researchers at UC Berkeley, maintaining the good habit of going early to sleep could do the trick.
This is no joke. Based on a recent study on 3,300 people, the results show bedtime and body mass index (BMI) are directly linked to each other. In other words, people heading early to bed on the regular usually have a lower BMI than those who constantly stay up late.
Researchers have also done the math, identifying a very precise ratio between hours of sleep and points gained on the BMI chart. It turns out that for every hour later you’re staying up, you’re prone to adding an average of 2.1 points. The team also found that exercising has little to no impact on the negative effects of a later bedtime.
Sleeping in as compensation for going late to bed on the regular is not a solution, as the higher BMI will still be present. Weight and height are factored in establishing a person’s BMI, which is a way to calculate body fat. According to the Body Mass Index charting scale, 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy, 25 to 29.9 overweight, and anything above that crosses into clinical obesity.
It’s no news that Americans have a major problem with obesity, and the National Institutes of Health concur. A survey conducted between 2009 and 2010 showed that 35.7 percent of adult Americans are obese – a number constantly on the rise. In addition, 74 percent of men were overweight, while women followed close at 64 percent.
On the other hand, the NIH survey had gloomy news on the normal BMI front, with just 31.2 percent of Americans qualifying inside the established perimeter.
Study author Lauren Asarnow, a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley, said the connection between obesity and lack of sleep was rather obvious. Obesity rates going higher each year among both adolescents and adults, and the epidemic of chronic lack of sleep is worsening. Teens are also known to prefer a later bedtime.
Asarnow pointed out that she was not the first to investigate the link between increased BMI and later bedtime. However, her study brings innovation by analyzing the effects sleep has on body weight over a longer period of time.
Her theory on why this correlation exists is also highly possible, suggesting that staying up late usually comes with poorer eating habits. Instead of sleeping, people give in to snacking in the wee hours of the morning, which usually leads to a higher likelihood of skipping the oh-so-very important breakfast.
Image Source: Student Science