Posted on Jul 11, 2019, 4 p.m.
Nighttime snacking has been found to promote a cycle of sleeplessness, weight gain, and junk food cravings; the propensity for junk food increases risk of obesity, which increases the risk for diabetes and other weight related problems, according to the researchers.
A nationwide survey was conducted involving 3,105 adults from 23 American metropolitan areas who were asked about their sleep quality/patterns, existing health problems, how often they had nighttime snacks and if lack of sleep led them to crave junk foods; findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.
According to the researchers around 60% of the participants reported snacking at night on a regular basis, two thirds reported lack of sleep often led to more junk food cravings. Junk food cravings were found to double the likelihood of individuals engaging in nighttime snacking; and poor quality of sleep was found to be an accurate predictor of junk food cravings.
“Laboratory studies suggest that sleep deprivation can lead to junk food cravings at night, which leads to increased unhealthy snacking at night, which then leads to weight gain. This study provides important information about the process, that these laboratory findings may actually translate to the real world,” explains Dr. Michael A. Grandner. “This connection between poor sleep, junk food cravings and unhealthy nighttime snacking may represent an important way that sleep helps regulate metabolism.”
To sum it up eating late at night makes it harder to fall asleep, which then causes additional junk food cravings that ultimately will lead to weight gain and related health issues. This cycle may be impacting more people than once thought as sleep disorders and other issues with wakefulness affect 15-20% of American adults, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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