Why Every Home Should Implement An Early Bedtime

A new UC Berkeley study suggests a link between late bedtime and increased BMI. 

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For most pre-teens, teens, and adults, bedtime is a mere childhood memory.

At some point beyond the elementary years, our responsibilities and desires grow powerful enough to override the importance of a full night’s sleep…and our health as a whole. But according to the results of a long-term study by the University of California, Berkeley, it would be in our best interest to revert to the old days and re-implement a bedtime—the earlier, the better.

UC Berkeley researchers tracked over 3,000 teens and adults over the course of 15 years, recording bedtime and BMI at three stages: the onset of puberty, the college-age years, and young adulthood.

A cumulative analysis of the data revealed that for every hour of sleep lost in a five-year span, subjects gained 2.1 BMI points. Healthy BMIs tend to hover in the upper teens to middle twenties, but those higher than 30 constitute obesity, so those seemingly insignificant two points carry some heavy weight.

The research team also found that exercise, screen time, and the number of hours the subjects did sleep had no reducing effect on BMI. Basically, hitting the gym and catching up on sleep during weekends isn’t enough to reverse the damage of a consistent late bedtime.

As we become an increasingly sleep deprived nation, keep in mind the mental risks that come along with a lack of shut-eye (depression, anxiety, poor grades, and low self-esteem), in addition to the physical risks such as weight gain and drug use. 

Don't wait to talk to your teen about the possibility of re-introducing a bedtime, and  be sure to pass along these five ways for teens to get a better sleep tonight