Consistent bed time and wake time can mean healthier weight

November 14, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Prior research has shown not getting enough sleep can impact your weight, but new BYU research finds the consistency of your bed time and wake time can also influence body fat. 

Exercise science professor Bruce Bailey studied more than 300 women from two major Western U.S. universities over the course of several weeks and found that those with the best sleeping habits had healthier weights.

The main findings from the study, published online in the American Journal of Health Promotion:

  • A consistent bed time and, especially, a consistent wake time are related to lower body fat.
  • Getting less than 6.5 or more than 8.5 hours of sleep per night is associated with higher body fat.
  • Quality of sleep is important for body composition.

Women in the study were first assessed for body composition, and then were given an activity tracker to record their movements during the day and their sleep patterns at night. Researchers tracked sleep patterns of the participants (ages 17-26) for one week.

The most surprising finding from the study, according to the researchers, was the link between bed time and wake time consistency and body weight. Study participants who went to bed and woke up at, or around the same time each day had lower body fat. Those with more than 90 minutes of variation in sleep and wake time during the week had higher body fat than those with less than 60 minutes of variation.

Wake time was particularly linked to body fat: Those who woke up at the same time each morning had lower body fat.  Staying up late and even sleeping in may be doing more harm than good, Bailey said.

"We have these internal clocks and throwing them off and not allowing them to get into a pattern does have an impact on our physiology," Bailey said.

Bailey related consistent to having good sleep hygiene. When sleep hygiene is altered, it can influence physical activity patterns, and affect some of the hormones related to food consumption contributing to excess body fat.

Bailey and his team also found there was a sweet spot for amount of sleep: Those who slept between 8 and 8.5 hours per night had the lowest body fat.

Sleep quality also proved to have a strong relationship to body fat. Sleep quality is a measure of how effective sleep is, or how much time spent in bed is spent sleeping. Those who had better had lower

To improve quality Bailey recommended exercising, keeping the temperature in the room cool, having a quiet room, having a dark room, and using beds only for sleeping.

"Sleep is often a casualty of trying to do more and be better and it is often sacrificed, especially by college students, who kind of wear it as a badge of honor," Bailey said.

Explore further: Hours of sleep and body fat linked for teenage boys, study shows

Related Stories

Hours of sleep and body fat linked for teenage boys, study shows

September 19, 2013
Researchers in human nutrition at the University of Otago have found that teenage boys who sleep less have more body fat when compared to girls, whose sleep deprivation has no discernible effect on their body fat ratios.

Beating the nap-time blues

October 23, 2013
Young children who are required to engage in day-time naps in childcare settings when they do not sleep are more likely to have disturbed sleep patterns that affect their behaviour and learning.

Weight gain induced by high-fat diet increases active-period sleep and sleep fragmentation

July 10, 2012
Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, finds that prolonged exposure to ...

Sleep tips for summer nights

July 8, 2013
(HealthDay)—Those extra hours of daylight in the summer contribute to sleep problems experienced by many Americans, experts say.

As clocks turn back on sunday, think about better sleep

November 1, 2013
(HealthDay)—Don't forget to turn your clock back an hour this weekend, and try some simple tips to get more restful sleep.

Five tips for a better night's sleep

April 17, 2012
There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to get you going in the morning. Drexel’s Dr. Joanne Getsy offers some tips to jump start your body and mind.

Recommended for you

Artificial light from digital devices lessens sleep quality

July 28, 2017
There's no doubt we love our digital devices at all hours, including after the sun goes down. Who hasn't snuggled up with a smart phone, tablet or watched their flat screen TV from the comfort of bed? A new study by researchers ...

Study finds walnuts may promote health by changing gut bacteria

July 28, 2017
Research led by Lauri Byerley, PhD, RD, Research Associate Professor of Physiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has found that walnuts in the diet change the makeup of bacteria in the gut, which suggests ...

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.