by Lexi Petronis
CN Digital Studio"Lose weight while you sleep" seems like one of those "um, sure, OK!" kinds of things (even though studies have shown that sleep can be an important factor in metabolism regulation). But now, new research says it's not just getting enough sleep that matters--it's also how you sleep.
According to a small new study in the American Journal of Health Promotion, the people who stick to a regular sleep schedule--going to bed at the same time every night, and waking up at the same time--were more commonly linked to lower body fat than people who keep irregular hours.
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In the study--by Brigham Young University--researchers followed 300 female college students, who were each given activity trackers that monitored everything they did during their day (including waking up and sleeping). After one week, the participants were assessed for body composition before. The major findings:
* Waking and going to sleep at the same time every day was most strongly linked with having lower body fat (participants whose sleep patterns varied by 90 minutes a night had higher body fat than those whose sleep varied by 60 minutes or less)
* Logging less than 6.5 hours of sleep or more than 8.5 hours of sleep was linked to having higher body fat (women who slept between 8 and 8.5 hours a night had the lowest body fat)
* "High-quality sleep" was associated with lower body fat, while "poor sleep" correlated with higher body fat
Why? Well, researchers aren't really sure (and bear in mind that this is a small study over a short period of time). But previous studies have shown that skipping sleep makes your body up its production of ghrelin (the hormone that controls food cravings) and decreases production of leptin (the hormone that helps you feel full, and may help keep you from overeating).
There are plenty of other good-health benefits associated with getting enough sleep too--so it's kind of interesting to have yet another possible reason to be consistent with the snoozing schedule!
How regular are you with your bedtimes/wake-up times?