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Late Bedtimes for Teens May Cause Weight Gain as Adults

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Bedtime and Weight Gains

A new study suggests staying up too late could lead to added pounds.

Teenage night owls could find themselves carrying unwanted pounds as adults unless they get to bed a little earlier.

That’s the conclusion researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have drawn after studying the sleep patterns and weight gain of more than 3,000 adolescents over a 25-year period. Analyzing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, doctoral candidate Lauren Asarnow and her team found that every additional hour kids stayed up translated to a 2.1Kg (4.6 lbs.)/m2 increase in their adult body-mass index.

And those extra pounds accumulated regardless of total sleep time, frequency of exercise, or screen time, according to the study, which was published in the October issue of the journal Sleep.

“The results are important because they highlight adolescent bedtimes, not just total sleep time, as a potential target for weight management concurrently and in the transition to adulthood,” Asarnow said in a statement released by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

The AASM recommends adolescents log at least nine hours of sleep each night during their transition to adulthood. And sleep experts generally suggest avoiding late-night screen time, high-carb bedtime snacks, and random napping to improve your sleep quality.

For more insights on snoozing, check out “Sleep Tips: Top 10 Sleep Mistakes and Their Solutions” in our December 2012 issue.

Craig Cox is a deputy editor at Experience Life.