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More Sleep During Teen Years Reduces Obesity Risk

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More Sleep During Teen Years Reduces Obesity Risk

Teens are known for staying up all night with their friends, cramming for exams, and watching mind-numbing reality shows. But what impact does teen sleep have on their health in adulthood?

Sleep and Obesity

Researchers from Columbia University and UNC found that 16-year-olds who sleep six hours or less a night have a 20 percent higher risk of obesity compared to 16-year-olds who sleep more than eight hours each night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teens sleep for over nine hours each night.

10,000 US 16- and 21-year-olds were included in this study, which began in 1995. Researchers collected the participants’ data in 1995 and again in 2001.

20 percent of the subjects got less than 6 hours of sleep a night when they were 16. This proved to have a significant impact on their risk of obesity at age 21, for both men and women, as sleep deprived teens eat more unhealthy food and less nutritious food (SLEEP 2013 conference). Another recent study in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology showed that sleep deprivation can also create a desire for larger portion sizes, as the lack of sleep causes a disassociation between food and satiety.

The Many Reasons Why Sleep is Important

Not getting enough sleep affects teens and adults in more ways than just their waistline. According to WebMD, sleep deficiency also causes:

  • Accidents
  • A weakened level of thinking and learning
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Impaired judgement

On that note, here are some tips to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Everyone—teens and adults alike—should pay attention to their sleep habits. The list above should be reason enough.

Sleep tight!

Information adapted from HuffPost.

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Sophie Borden graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with degrees in Environmental Studies, Spanish, and Writing. She is a Marketing Associate at TeenLife and lives in Boston. She loves traveling, cooking, and dogs, especially her little rescue pup, Lily.

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