Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sleep & Weight Gain: Watch When You Eat

A new study of mice provides the first causal evidence that links meal timing and increased weight gain, reports Northwestern University. The study suggests that eating when you should be sleeping may lead to weight gain.

It might seem easy to eliminate a late-night snack; but meal timing can be a problem for
shift workers.

"One of our research interests is shift workers, who tend to be overweight," said lead author Deanna M. Arble. "Their schedules force them to eat at times that conflict with their natural body rhythms.”

The researchers fed mice a high-fat diet over a period of six weeks. Some ate during naturally wakeful hours; others ate when they normally would be asleep.

Mice that ate during normal sleeping hours had a 48-percent weight gain; mice that ate the same type and amount of food during naturally wakeful hours had only a 20-percent weight gain.

A 2008
review by Northwestern researchers explored the links between sleep and energy metabolism. The review suggests that sleep loss and obesity may be "interacting epidemics." It also indicates that the circadian clock system plays a fundamental role in energy metabolism.

Earlier this year the Sleep Education Blog reported that a “sleep diet” may be one way to lose weight. Learn more about the links between sleep and weight on
Image by Matthew

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