Changing Sleep Patterns Are Linked To Increased Risk of Weight Gain

Most of us like sleeping much longer in the weekends compared to week days. Friday night we usually stay longer, watch night TV shows, chat with our friends online, go to night clubs, or have any other kind of fun. We go to sleep late, and then wake up late in the morning, changing our sleep patterns and daily activity routines. Most of us truly enjoy these long sleeps in the weekends, but scientists warn us about possible negative effects of those. In particular, as one of the recent study has found out, those of us who like sleeping longer and waking up late in the weekends are at much higher risk of weight gain. Sleep PatternsSpecialists at the Institute of Medical Psychology at the University of Munich have reported about their findings saying that changing sleep patterns is linked to higher risks of obesity and all negative factors associated with this health condition.

According to Prof. Till Roenneberg, a research group leader and the author of the report published this spring in the journal Current Biology, every extra hour spent in bed in the weekend is linked to 33 per cent increase in risk of weight gain. Waking up an hour or two later in the weekend and changing our sleep patterns have the same effects on us in the same way as changing time zone when flying to another country. “The behavior looks like if most people on a Friday evening fly from Paris to New York or Los Angeles to Tokyo and on Monday they fly back. Since this looks like almost a travel jet lag situation, we called it social jet lag,” Roenneberg said. However, the effects of changing sleep patterns as a result of longer sleep in the weekends are different, since the sun goes on coming up and going down in the same time.

At the same time, the effects of the described phenomena can possibly be more harmful since social jet lag is something that takes place regularly, on a long term basis. As a result of these sleep pattern disruption, biological clock of the people have extra load and go through more frequent reset procedures. Similar effects were reported earlier related to shift workers who also suffer from chronically disrupted sleep patters and are exposed to higher risks of obesity and risks of diabetes. The links between good sleep and weight loss have been studied by many researchers and scientists, and there is plenty of scientific evidence to the fact that having a regular good sleep is one of the most important factors for effective weight loss and weight management. The current study, nevertheless, is one of the first researching the reverse effects and proving that sleep irregularities and distorted sleep patterns are linked to increases risk of weight gain.

Prof. Till Roenneberg reported that the mentioned conclusions were made after analyzing information on a large number of people, over 65 thousands. Research group found out that the more social leg we experience, the more load to our body clock we have, the more chances we have to gain weight and suffer from obesity. Also, weight gain due to sleep pattern changes is linked to drop in metabolism which usually accompanies prolonged sleep. “If our sleep is not up to us, we’re much less likely to get enough to stay healthy. And whatever it is limiting our sleep may also limit time for exercise or preparing healthy meals,” Orfeu Buxton, an assistant professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, commented on the findings of her colleagues. Find more information about the research and the findings of German scientists in this publication.

Sleeping Is The Best Time For Babies To Grow!

Some babies do not like sleeping and do not let their parents sleep as well. Some babies, on the contrary, are very good sleepers and always totally satisfy their needs of sleeping up to 10 hours a day. Recently, s group of the experts from the department of anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, conducted a research trying to find out whether sleeping is linked to growing up in babies, just like our grandmas tended to believe. It turned out that – yes, the old notion does have scientific background and after a good sleep, a baby always wakes up taller.

baby sleeping patternsThe study involved working with 23 families with newborn babies, average 12 days. The parents were asked to keep tracks of their babies’ sleep patterns and waking up routine. All other details, like whether the baby was breast-fed or formula-fed, or whether the baby displayed the symptoms like vomiting, gas, diarrhea, high fever and so on, were also taken into account. Also, the scientists regularly measured the length of the babies, as often as twice a week.

The findings were really interesting and exciting. Every change in the baby’s sleep patterns, or every time the baby had a tendency to sleep more, a substantial growth spurt was following. The scientists estimated that 43% of babies experienced an obvious growth spurt with every extra hours of sleep they took.  20% of babies displayed growth spurt when they were taking increased number of naps on a day-to-day basis. At that, the scientists reported that baby girls were more likely to take less number of naps that baby boys. Also, those babies who were fed with formula tended to have longer but less frequent naps compared to the breast-fed babies.

These findings turned out to be first of the kind that confirmed the links between sleep patterns and growing up in babies. “Little is known about the biology of growth spurts. Our data opens the window to further scientific study of the mechanisms and pathways that underlie salutatory growth,” says Michelle Lampl, one of the research team leaders. “Sleep irregularities can be distressing to parents,” the specialist adds. “However, these findings give babies a voice that helps parents understand them and show that seemingly erratic sleep behavior is a normal part of development. Babies really aren’t trying to be difficult.”