Here is a weird new finding from Otago University. The less teenage boys sleep the more body fat they will have while the same is not true for teenage girls. Yes, as strange as it may seem boys need sleep to stay thin but not girls. Sleep research seems to throw up a number of unusual findings, things that you would never be able to guess or even imagine without the science discovering them.
Boys need more sleep to stay skinny
The study was looking at the sleep patterns, height, weight and fat ratios of a number of Otago teenagers who were between 15 and 18 years of age. The lead researcher, Paula Skidmore, who works in the Department of Human Nutrition at the university, claimed that her study had found a definite connection between the length of sleep and the body fat ratio for boys, but that the same connection was not found in girls.
What are the differences?
For the average 16 year old boy, who weighs 69.5kg and is 1.76m tall, getting an extra two hours of sleep every day made a staggering 9 per cent difference in his body fat. The research showed that those boys who got eight hours sleep had 1.6kg more body fat and a 1.8cm bigger waist than those boys who were sleeping for 10 hours. The study also found that the boys who were sleeping for eight hours had around 1.8kg more lean mass than the boys who were sleeping for 10 hours which is an increase of 1.4 per cent.
But not girls?
This contrasted hugely with the girls who were sleeping for eight hours a day as they showed no discernible change in their body-fat composition or even waist size when compared to the girls who were sleeping for 10 hours a day.
Dr Skidmore said that "Our results suggest that for older teenage boys, making sure that they get adequate sleep may help to maintain a healthier a body. It seems to be that, within reason, the more sleep the better for boys” and that "It was unexpected that we did not find the same result in girls, who may actually be more aware of their diet and more in tune with a healthier lifestyle." The study had accounted for differing diets and exercise regimes across the study group.
The study also looked at fat mass index and the body mass index (BMI) when they were doing their calculations, but as Dr Skidmore said, the link between BMI and sleep was not as strong as the connection between sleep and fat mass and that "We think that in this group of growing adolescents that more direct measures of body fat are needed to pick up the subtle changes in your body when you are growing."
So, the take home for this is that you need to make sure that your teenage boys are getting enough sleep as it appears to play an important role in regulating teenage boys’ weight and that they need around 10 hours a night to ensure that they do not become overweight.
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