Iowa Sleep Blog

How a Consistent Sleep Schedule Helps Control Your Weight

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stick to a regular sleep and wake time to keep your weight goals on track – especially as we gear up for spring and summer!

Sleeping in on weekends may seem like a good way to make up for sleep lost during the previous week. But scientists at Brigham Young University have found that inconsistent sleep patterns can actually influence weight and lead to higher body fat.

The study tracked 300 women for a week and found that those with the better sleeping habits also had healthier weights. Major findings from the study showed that:

  • A consistent bedtime and, more importantly, a consistent wake time are related to lower body fat.
  • Having more than 90 minutes of variation in sleep and wake time during the week correlates with higher body fat while less than 60 minutes of variation correlates with lower body fat.
  • Getting less than 6.5 or more than 8.5 hours of sleep per night is associated with a higher body fat.

Iowa Sleep’s Dr. Stephen Grant says these findings are no surprise to physicians specializing in sleep medicine. In their practices, these doctors have long observed that sleeping too much or too little raises the likelihood of obesity. Dr. Grant says that research has proven that sleep is intricately related to appetite, metabolism and circadian rhythms (your body’s internal clock).

How do you keep your sleep patterns – and your weight – in check? Dr. Grant recommends the following:

  • Maintain a consistent bedtime and wake time – even on the weekends.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet.
  • Avoid large meals, alcohol and exercise close to bedtime.
  • Never watch TV in bed – it is directly correlated with insomnia.

Learn about the many ways sleep helps you stay healthy by participating in our free webinar series. Our next webinar will be held Monday, March 24 – from noon to 12:30 p.m. The webinar will explore the connection between sleep and diabetes. Register here.