Do you get up at night and raid the refrigerator? It is making you fat in more ways than one. A new study suggests that eating snacks and junk food cravings during the night may contribute to unhealthy eating behaviours and represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity.
Researchers at the University of Arizona Health Sciences conducted a phone-based survey of 3,105 adults, who were asked if they regularly consumed a nighttime snack and whether lack of sleep led them to crave junk food. About 60% of participants reported regular nighttime snacking and two-thirds reported that lack of sleep led them to crave more junk food. The study also found that junk food cravings were associated with a double increase in the likelihood of nighttime snacking, which was associated with an increased risk for diabetes.
They also found that poor sleep quality seemed to be a major predictor of junk food cravings and that junk food cravings were associated with a greater likelihood of participants reporting obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.
“Laboratory studies suggest that sleep deprivation can lead to junk food cravings at night, which can result in increased unhealthy snacking at night, which can further lead to weight gain,” said professor Michael A Grandner.
The research abstract , Nighttime Snacking: Prevalence and Associations With Poor Sleep, Health, Obesity, and Diabetes’ will be presented at SLEEP 2018, the 32nd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS), set to take place from June 2-6 in Baltimore.
Here are some other things that impact your junk food craving:
* Work stress may be to blame.
A recent study suggests that a good night’s sleep can serve as a protecting factor between job stress and unhealthy eating in the evening. The study is one of the first to investigate how psychological experiences at work shape eating behaviours.
* Ambient music can influence your eating habits.
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Sciences suggests that louder environments increase stimulation and stress, making diners choose junk food like cheeseburgers and fries.
* Exercise can reduce your craving.
A recent study by researchers in Sweden suggests that despite feeling tired and lacking motivation, exercise could be a means of warding off junk food cravings after a few short nights’ sleep.