Researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah sought to examine the relationship between sleep patterns and weight in young adult women. The study used a cross-sectional design in which sleep and physical activity of 330 young adult women were monitored for seven consecutive days and nights using actigraphy. The women were all between the ages of 18 and 21. The study took place at two Mountain West region universities and the surrounding communities.
In addition to monitoring sleep and physical activity levels, the researchers also measured the height, weight, and adiposity (body fat) of the participants.
The researchers discovered that inconsistent sleep patterns and poor sleep efficiency are linked to increased body fat.
Although previous studies have looked at the link between sleep and weight, this is the first study that examined a relationship between sleep patterns and body fat. As Bruce Bailey, a professor in exercise science at Brigham Young University, explains:
“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.”
According to Medical News Today, the researchers concluded five main points from the results of the study:
- A consistent bed time, but particularly a consistent wake time, were linked to lower body fat.
- Sleeping less than 6.5 or more than 8.5 hours a night was tied to higher body fat.
- Sleeping between 8 and 8.5 hours a night was tied to the lowest levels of body fat.
- Quality of sleep also appears to make a difference to body composition.
- Participants whose wake and sleep time varied by more than 90 minutes had more body fat than those whose variations were limited to 60 minutes.
The main takeaway of this study is that individuals seeking to maintain a healthier weight should also maintain a consistent sleep pattern.
Consistent sleep patterns tied to healthier weight: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/268992.php
Objectively Measured Sleep Patterns in Young Adult Women and the Relationship to Adiposity: http://www.ajhpcontents.com/doi/abs/10.4278/ajhp.121012-QUAN-500
Child Cuddling with Puppy: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/187526