The sleep habits of 300 university women were tracked and those with consistent sleep schedules had lower body fat. “Sleep hygiene” is a term comparable to dental hygiene – all the things we do to have good, healthy sleep habits and patterns. Altered sleep hygiene disrupts physical activity, hormones, food consumption, and thus body fat.
Researchers also found a sweet spot for the ideal amount of sleep for the young adults (ages 17-26) in this study: Those who slept between 8 and 8.5 hours per night had the lowest body fat. Interestingly, less than 6.5 or more than 8.5 hours of sleep per night was associated with higher body fat.
Personally, when I honor my natural circadian rhythm, which is early to bed and early to rise, even on weekends, I feel better. Since a consistent wake time was particularly linked to having lower body fat, set that alarm, enjoy the sunrise, and start your day!