Pulling all-nighters aren’t just bad for your eye bags. Here’s why it’s bad for weight watchers too.
How late nights are making you fat. (Photo: ostill / www.123rf.com)
We’re not talking about making regular appearances at the clubs, and then hitting the supper joints after that – you already know it’s bad for you. Late nights, here, refer to irregular bedtimes, exercising at night and sleeping in a too-bright room. That sounds like all of us.
Late nights are bad for weight watchers because…
These late night activities can mess with your body’s melatonin production, and trigger weight gain. Popularly known as the “sleep hormone”, melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle, acts as an antioxidant and reduces stress.
It’s also been found to control weight gain, improve HDL (good) cholesterol as well as reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and heart disease-causing triglycerides in lab rats. Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain think the same may apply to humans.
And get this: a Harvard Medical School study found that people who slept only five hours nightly over a period of time had slower metabolism. This could translate to a 5.7kg weight gain in a year, say researchers. Whether or not you’re a weight watcher, this could be significant.
What weight watchers can do to fix this
The occasional late night out with your girlfriends or a hot date is fine, or even until the festive period comes to an end. But, a healthy habit is to sleep at the same time every night – even on weekends. To get in the mood, block out light with thick curtains and use an eye mask, advises Dr Scott Isaacs, author of Hormonal Balance: How to Lose Weight by Understanding Your Hormones and Metabolism.
Turn off devices with LED lights at bedtime. Exposure to them suppresses melatonin levels by up to five times more than regular bulbs, according to a 2011 Israeli study. And switch off those message and social media alerts so you don’t get rudely awakened when someone decides to have a twilight group chat.