Why it causes weight gain: Are you often surprised by how late it is when you finally hit the sack?
Your nighttime routine may be affecting your weight, claims a new study from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the US.
Researchers discovered those who go to bed late consume 1042 more kilojoules a day, twice as much fast food and half as many fruits and vegetables as those who go to bed early. The research shows not only are the number of kilojoules you eat important, but also when you eat them, says senior author Phyllis Zee.
“Human circadian rhythms in sleep and metabolism are synchronised to the daily rotation of the Earth, so that when the sun goes down, you are supposed to be sleeping, not eating,” she says. “When sleep and eating are not aligned with the body’s internal clock, it can lead to changes in appetite and metabolism, which could lead to weight gain.”
What you can do: Regulating the timing of eating and sleep could improve the effectiveness of weight management, suggest the authors. Do this by avoiding eating late at night and adjust your bedtime by 15 minutes each night until you are going to bed at a healthier hour.
If you’re finding it hard to drift off at this earlier time follow a relaxing bedtime routine by reading, having a bath or doing some deep breathing – this signals to your body it’s time to wind down.