Ever noticed that staying up past the wee hours of the night coincides with some serious junk food cravings? Well, it’s not all in your head. A new study reveals the frightening connection between sleep loss and nighttime snacking, obesity, and diabetes.
University of Arizona Health Sciences sleep researchers report that out of 3,105 adults, 60 percent reveal that they succumb to nighttime snacking regularly. And two-thirds of the participants in the pool admitted that lack of shut-eye led them to crave more junk food.
How to Avoid Late-Night Snacking
“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,” Michael A. Grandner, PhD, MTR, UA assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the UA Sleep and Health Research Program and the UA Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic said in a statement. “This connection between poor sleep, junk food cravings, and unhealthy nighttime snacking may represent an important way that sleep helps regulate metabolism.”
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution that can help you reduce cravings as well as your waist circumference. Going to bed earlier can not only help you avoid reaching into that bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but it can also help regulate hunger-decreasing leptin and appetite-increasing ghrelin so that you’re not ravenous and exhausted the next day. Looking to kick the weight-shedding up another notch? Try intermittent fasting. Studies have shown that closing the kitchen early can help you drop more pounds and reduce your risk of metabolic disorders (such as obesity and diabetes)—even if you don’t restrict calories during your eating window. Interested in giving the trend a try? Find out Exactly What Happens During 10 Days of Intermittent Fasting.