Sleep is critical to losing weight

Sleep late, gain weight

Sleep is one of the most critical–and most overlooked–parts of losing weight (and of good health in general). And bad sleep habits can wreak havoc on your efforts to slim down. For instance, according to a new study in Obesity, people who tend to sleep late are more likely to gain weight.

The researchers report on 52 volunteers who kept track of their sleep and diet patterns for seven days. The majority (56 percent) were “normal sleepers” who woke up at 8 am, whereas 44 percent were “late sleepers” who woke up mid-to-late morning.

But it’s not “extra” sleep that’s a problem. In fact, the late sleepers actually went to bed later and slept fewer hours than the normal sleepers. So, in all likelihood, they’re not getting enough sleep. And we know from previous studies that too little sleep is linked to obesity because it disrupts weight-control hormones.

Plus, the late sleepers tended to eat more calories–which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if they came from wholesome, natural foods. But this particular group reported eating more fast food and sugar-laden sodas, and few fruits and vegetables.

If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep that starts and ends at a reasonable time. And promise me, if you do stay up late, you won’t eat a bunch of junk food.

In fact, if you’re up long enough past dinner to get hungry again, take it as a sign that it’s time to turn in for the night!