It is believed that those of us not getting a proper night’s sleep are affecting their body clock and could be adding unwanted weight through this alone. If you are punishing yourself through a demanding exercise schedule and following a tight diet plan, but its having no effect on your weight loss goals, you should have a look at your body clock and sleeping pattern.

Scientists now believe that people who have problems following a regular sleeping pattern and more likely to put on weight as a result. Sleep disruption is generally very common amongst people, especially in today’s busy and unpredictable lives. Dr Cathy Wyse, from the University of Aberdeen has revealed that maintaining a regular pattern of eating and sleeping in total darkness will help you to fight off those unwanted extra pounds.

The 24 hour cycle of sleeping, waking up and digesting food throughout the day activates processes in cells found in your body and release hormones that affect your metabolism, amongst other bodily functions.

Light also plays an important role in this process and affects the way your body clock ticks over, which is why it is important to sleep in pitch darkness. When electrical lighting was introduced, it meant that people were now overriding an ancient synchronisation found between a person’s natural rhythm and body and their external environment, following the changes between daylight and night time.

Modern lifestyles mean that our eating, sleeping and working lives are out of sync to what they once were, especially with peoples eating and sleeping times changing potentially on a daily basis. This means that a person’s body clock struggles to keep up with these constant changes, resulting in metabolic problems occurring, leading people more likely to put on weight. This can be seen in studies conducted with night shift workers, who were shown to be more likely to put on weight and more likely to die younger as a result of their lifestyles.

Dr Wyse noted that previous studies on mice, where their body clocks were intentionally disrupted, led to changes in their liver that controls the breakdown of fat and glucose. Their normal light and dark patterns were disrupted resulting in the mice gaining additional weight, even though they were not given more food than normal.

The reasons for these changes are unclear, however Dr Wyse discussed that this could be a reason for the sudden increase to global obesity across the developed world. One thing that is certain about obesity is that is a complex mix of things including what we eat, when we sleep and what we do for work and throughout our daily lives.