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Why eating late and sleeping in leads to weight gain


An article by Dr. Michael J. Breus PhD, a clinical psychologist and Board Certified Sleep Specialist, published on The Sleep Doctor website makes for interesting reading. 

Late-night snacks prevent weight loss

Dr Breus says that your bedtime – and those late-night snacks – may be preventing you from dropping those stubborn extra kilos. A recent study looked at an important, and under-examined, aspect of the sleep-weight loss connection, and how the timing of sleeping and eating can affect your weight.

Eating after 8pm leads to a high BMI

Researchers at Northwestern University examined the effects of sleep timing on diet and body-mass index (BMI). They found that the habits of late sleepers – sleeping less, going to sleep later at night, waking up later in the morning and eating more after 8pm – were associated with a higher body mass index. Among these habits, eating after 8pm was the strongest predictor of a higher BMI.

This means that, although it's extremely important WHAT you eat, WHEN you eat and HOW MUCH you eat after 8pm can also affect your ability to lose weight.

“This new research has given us a strong start in examining this aspect of the sleep-weight relationship in humans,” says Dr Breus. “More investigation is needed, but these results do align with much of what we already know about sleep and weight.”

These are the facts:

  • When deprived of sleep, the body generates more of the hormones that boost appetite, and less of the hormone that signals a feeling of fullness.
  • Sleeping less than six hours per night (or more than eight hours per night) over an extended period makes weight gain more likely.
  • Lack of sleep significantly reduces the body's ability to burn calories during waking hours.
Obese boy

Childhood obesity serious health problem in South Africa

This issue also relates to teens and adolescents, since weight problems that develop during childhood and adolescence can affect health for a lifetime. Obesity is an escalating health problem for children as well as adults in South Africa, and eating at a reasonably early hour is a lifestyle change that can be implemented with relative ease.

Information sourced from: www.thesleepdoctor.com

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