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Late Sleeping and Weight Gain

Mahaska Health Partnership Sleep Services urges the public to maintain good sleep habits.

“Adequate sleep is as important as good nutrition and exercise to your health,” MHP Sleep Technologist Kai Schwab said. “A recently study showed that people who stay up late and sleep in end up consuming more calories in a day and are at risk for gaining weight.”

The study, conducted by researchers of the Sleep and Circadian Rhythms Program at Feinberg and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, showed that late sleepers consume 248 more calories in a day, twice as much fast food and half as many fruits and vegetables as those with earlier sleep times. Late sleepers also consumed more full-calorie beverages. The study concluded that the extra calories were consumed during dinner and later in the evening with others were asleep.

‘The extra daily calories can mean a significant amount of weight gain, two pounds per month, if they are not balanced by more physical activity,” said co-lead author and health psychologist Kelly Glazor Baron. “We don’t know if late sleepers consume the extra calories because they prefer more high-calorie foods or because there are less healthy options available late at night.”

Schwab stressed that continuous weight gain can lead to other, more serious health complications such as sleep apnea. “People who are overweight or those with a large neck circumference are more susceptible to developing sleep apnea, a closing of the airway during sleep.”

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, obstructive sleep apnea causes pauses in breathing that last between 10 and 30 seconds, but some may persist for one minute or longer. The lack of oxygen can lead to abrupt reductions in blood oxygen saturation.

Schwab explained that most people with sleep apnea snore loudly and frequently with periods of silence when airflow is blocked. Those suffering with the condition may also experience excessive day time sleepiness and possibly depression due to the lack of quality sleep.

“Maintaining a good sleep routine affects many aspects of a person’s overall health and well-being. If you are having trouble sleeping, contact your primary care provider.”

To find more about how MHP Sleep Services is making healthcare personal, visit mahaskahealth.org.