New Study Suggests Timing of Sleep Linked to Weight

“Early to bed and early to rise” is good advice as far as your health is concerned according to a study from the University of South Australia.

The study tracked bedtimes and wake times of 2,200 Australian participants, ages 9 to 16, along with comparing their weights and use of free time over four days.  Those who went to bed late and got up late were 1.5 times more likely to become obese than those who went to bed early and got up early even though they got virtually the same amount of sleep.  There has been evidence that not enough sleep can increase the risk of being overweight or obese.  Now it seems that the timing may be just as important.

The early risers were more active, watched less TV and played less video games.  Mornings seem to be more conducive to physical activity for young people than nights.   Night-time TV and social networking opportunities might explain why more sedentary and screen-based behaviors were seen with later bedtimes.

“It is widely accepted that the sleep patterns of adolescents are fundamentally different from children and adults, and that it is normal for adolescents to stay up very late and sleep in late in the morning.  Our findings show that this sleeping pattern is associated with unfavorable activity patterns and health outcomes, and that the adolescents who don’t follow this sleep pattern do better,” according to Carol Maher, PhD., study co-author and postdoctoral fellow with the university.

The study found that late-to-bed/late-to-risers replaced about 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity with 30 minutes of sedentary behavior each day when compared to the early-to-bed/early-to-rise group.

So, listen to the advice of Ben Franklin and make it a habit of turning in earlier and rising earlier.  Along with better health, it just might make you wiser and wealthier too!

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