Not sleeping enough may be causing you to snack more frequently!

23 Sep Not sleeping enough may be causing you to snack more frequently!

Do you ever blow off going to bed early and opt for staying up late? Do you happen to be snacking on unhealthy foods at the same time? A recent study looking at these two events and have found a strong connection between the two of them!

Researchers at the Ohio State University analyzed data from 19650 US adults aged between 20 and 60 years old who had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007 to 2018. This survey collects 24-hour dietary recalls which includes both what they ate and when they ate it along with total amount of sleep achieved.

Researchers looked at those participants who met the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep per night and those who did not and sought to find any differences between them in terms of their dietary habits. Looking at snacking habits, the window when people snack was broken into three-time frames of 2am-11:59am, 12pm-5:59pm, and 6pm-1:59am. Statistics showed that 95.5% of participants engaged in snack eating at least once a day with over 50% of participants eating either salty, e.g., chips or pretzels, or sweet, e.g., cookies or pastries.

Looking at those who did and did not meet the recommended seven-hour sleep total, those who did not meet this recommendation were more likely to eat a morning snack, less likely to eat an afternoon snack, and ate higher quantities of snacks with more calories and less nutritional value when compared to those who did meet the recommended seven hours of sleep.

While meeting the recommended amount of sleep is directly beneficial to our health as it prevents weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It also indirectly beneficial to our health as it is preventing us from engaging in poor health decisions, e.g., late night snacking, engaging in risky behaviours, etc.

The take away message is as long as you are in bed trying to sleep, you’ll be less likely to be engaging in detrimental health behaviours!