How Staying Up Late Contributes To Packing on Those Pounds

It’s become common knowledge that teenagers and young adults who stay up too late on school nights don’t perform as well academically as their well-rested peers, but that’s not the only deleterious effect of keeping to an irregular sleep schedule.

The Consequences of an Irregular Sleep Schedule

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University found that teenagers who stay up late on a school night have higher body mass indexes than those who do not. For every additional hour that a teenager stayed up the night before school, their BMI increased by 2.1 points. The study found teens that stay up late gained weight regardless of their physical activity and how many hours of sleep they got per night. This is because the act of maintaining an irregular sleep schedule disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm, which in turn disrupts the body’s hormonal balance.

Schoolwork Shouldn’t Trump Sleep

When that delicate balance is disrupted, your body’s metabolic functions become compromised and your risk factor for contracting illnesses such as obesity and type II diabetes greatly increases. Teenagers need roughly 9 hours of sleep a night to ensure proper mental and physical health. However, as teenagers get older and their academic challenges become more intense, they spend increasing amounts of time doing homework and studying for exams. While it’s obviously important for teenagers to give their studies the appropriate amount of attention, it should not come at the cost of their health.

Teens and Social Media

It’s also worth noting that the current generation of teenagers has a reason to stay up late on a regular basis; social media. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow teenagers to connect with an endlessly updating stream of statuses. While this interconnectedness has its benefits, there is also a negative side to unrestricted social media use. A number of studies have found links between teenage social media use and anxiety, depression and sleeplessness. As increased stress levels also have the effect of promoting weight gain, parents should strongly consider putting limits on their children’s social media use, particularly in the evening time.

Other Causes for Sleep Disruption

In addition to school work and social media, there are a number of other factors that can disrupt your teens sleep cycle. Eating carbohydrate-rich snacks before bed can temporarily spike your blood sugar, making it harder for you to get to sleep. It’s also possible that if your child’s mattress hasn’t been replaced in more than eight years, it may have become uncomfortable enough to cause them to toss and turn at night. Lastly, it’s possible that your child is suffering from an undiagnosed illness that is causing them to wake up frequently during the night, such as obstructive sleep apnea or insomnia. And if you’re concerned that your teenager isn’t getting enough sleep, contact us today to set up an appointment. With his expertise and experience, Dr. Shukla has the ability to diagnose and treat any sleep disorder your child may have.


Find Us On Map
Find a clinic near you
Call for an appointment!
Call for an appointment!
Send an Email
Feel free to message Us!