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Hidden Risk of Being a Night Owl

Going to bed really late and getting not quite enough sleep can cramp your exercise style. A new study has concluded that night owls are more sedentary than the rest of us and have a harder time sticking to an exercise routine. “Waking up late and being an evening person were related to more time spent sitting, particularly on weekends and with difficulty making time to exercise,” said study leader Kelly Glazer Baron, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. For the study, the researchers examined 123 healthy adults who reported that they slept at least 6.5 hours per night. The team measured sleep variables for seven days with wrist monitors that track motion and rest, and had each participant keep a sleep diary. The researchers also evaluated self-reports of physical activity and attitudes toward exercise from specially designed questionnaires. The night owls in this study averaged only 83 minutes of vigorous activity per week, and even those who exercised felt that being an evening person made it difficult to find time to work out, the study found.

Kelly Glazer Baron et al “Early To Bed, Early To Rise Makes Easier To Exercise: The Role Of Sleep Timing In Physical Activity And Sedentary Behavior,” SLEEP abstract supplement 2014

How Much Sleep Do You Usually Get at Night? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed being a night owl and the effects of staying up late: What's Wrong with Being a Night Owl? Check out the article and let us know how much sleep you get per night.

The Simple Reason Why Night Owls Gain Weight

Late night nibbling translates into too many excess caloriesThe less you sleep, the more likely you are to gain weight, and a new study suggests why: late night nibbling translates into too many excess calories. The study, from the University of Pennsylvania, showed that participants in a laboratory sleep study whose shut-eye was limited to four hours per night for five nights, bumped up their daily intake of calories during the wee hours until their four a.m. bedtime. The researchers also reported that the proportion of calories from fat consumed by the night owls was higher late at night than earlier in the day. The other study participants were allowed a lot more sleep – from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. A total of 225, healthy, non-obese adults age 22 to 50 participated in the study. Among those randomly selected to sleep only four hours per night, men gained more weight than women, and African-Americans gained more than Caucasians. During the study, meals were served at scheduled times, but participants had around-the-clock access to food in the lab kitchen. No exercise was permitted. The findings were published in the July 2013, issue of the journal Sleep.

Andrea M. Spaeth et al, “Effects of Experimental Sleep Restriction on Weight Gain, Caloric Intake, and Meal Timing in Healthy Adults,”