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Your Erratic Sleep Schedule Could Lead to the “Freshman 15”

An erratic sleeping schedule may cause to more than just grumpiness, according to a new study from the journal Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

It could also be one of the reasons that freshman students tend to gain weight.  Although the “Freshman 15” is an exaggeration, freshmen gain on average five to 10 pounds during their first year. Binge drinking and unlimited meal plans aside, there could be more to the “Freshman 15” than just dietary choices. 

The study had 132 freshmen keeping track of their sleep schedule and weight for nine weeks during the first semester of college. The students self-reported the results. By the end of the study, the majority of the participants gained almost six pounds. 

The sleep diaries that the students kept showed that the average bed time was 1:30 a.m., and the average amount of sleep was 7 hours and 15 minutes. The sleep diaries also showed that the time that students woke up each morning varied greatly. 

Freshmen should be getting eight to 10 hours of sleep each night to function at their best. These students not only failed to meet the sleeping recommendations, but The Huffington Post reports that teens who don’t get enough sleep are drawn to junk food, which could also lead to weight gain. (That may be why you are daydreaming about pizza during your first period class.)

In addition to lack of sleep, waking up at a consistent time is very important as well. You may want to skip sleeping in until noon on the days you don’t have an early class. Consistent bedtime and wake up time can influence your body fat. 

Ashby Strauch is a third year journalism major at the University of Florida. Her passion for writing and keeping up with current events inspired her to choose journalism as her major. In her spare time, she enjoys camping and reading. Her favorite camping trip was when she went backpacking in Big Bend National Park last spring break with some friends. Her favorite books are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Follow my Twitter @AshbyStrauch for updates.
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