Is Your Lack Of Sleep Resulting In Junk Food Cravings?

Grabbing a quick snack in the middle of the night might not be the worst thing you could do for your health. However – according to a new study – if your night-time junk food snacking turns into habit, you could then be putting your health at risk, albeit by affecting the quality of your sleep and by increasing the risk for obesity and diabetes.

The study

Researches from the University of Arizona in Tucson attempted to find an association poor sleep quality and junk food cravings. The study also aimed to
confirm the suggestion that night-time snacking could lead to poor eating habits. For the study, researchers quizzed 3,105 adults from 23 metropolitan areas across the United States. Through a phone-based survey, the participants were asked about their night-time snacking habits, sleep quality, and any diagnosed health issues. They were also asked if they ever craved junk foods as a result of sleep deprivation.

The results

The study revealed a strong correlation between poor sleep quality and junk food cravings. It also found an association between junk food cravings and a higher likelihood of night-time snacking. Overall, junk food cravings were linked with double the risk of night-time snacking, which was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The study found that 60% of people were night-time snackers and that two-thirds of them craved junk food before bed. The cravings were more predominant amongst younger people with depression and poor sleep quality and less prevalent amongst those who have never been married. “This connection between poor sleep, junk food cravings, and unhealthy night-time snacking may represent an important way that sleep helps regulate metabolism,” says one of the researchers, Dr Michael A. Grandner.

The verdict on junk food

As sleep is continuously being recognized as an important factor in health, it’s vital to ensure that we do everything we can to enjoy proper sleep, especially due to its ability to impact our dietary patterns. Enjoying a healthy diet as well as partaking in regular exercise, moderating your alcohol intake and avoiding stimulants can help to improve the quality of your sleep. In looking to combat any junk food cravings, be conscious of the environment you’re in. High levels of stress can encourage poor eating habits, as can choosing the wrong snacks to get you through the day. Read more about the study here.

Want to find out more? Click here to find out how your diet could affect your chances of becoming pregnant.

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