Posted on Jun 11, 2018, 4 p.m.
Night time snacking and junk food cravings have been linked to sleep loss, contributing to unhealthy eating behaviors, obesity, and diabetes.
University of Arizona has conducted a nationwide phone based survey of adults from 23 American metropolitan areas. Participants were asked about eating habits and if they regularly consumed night time snacks and whether lack of sleep led them to cave unhealthy junk foods, as well as existing health problems and sleep patterns and quality. 60% of participants reported regular night time snacking habits, ⅔ of which reported that lack of sleep led them to crave unhealthy snacks and junk foods.
Studies conducted in laboratories suggest that sleep deprivation can lead to late night junk food cravings that can create habits to increased unhealthy late night snacking which can lead to weight gain. Poor sleep connections with junk food cravings, and unhealthy late night snacking may represent an important way in which sleep helps to regulate metabolism.
Sleep is gaining recognition as an important factor in overall health alongside of nutrition. Sleep and eating patterns are linked, working together to promote health according to the researchers. Interdisciplinary research teams are conducting studies and clinical trials to investigate how sleep affects mental health, memory, stress, alertness, decision making, and how environmental factors affect sleep. It is estimated that 15-20% of adults within the USA alone have sleep and wakefulness disorders according to the US Department of Health and Human Services
Materials provided by University of Arizona Health Sciences.
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