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Research Reveals How Missing Out On Sleep Can Affect Your Diet 

Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Couple sitting on couch and snacking on popcorn together

We know getting a good night's sleep is crucial for overall health, and it can affect how we function on a day-to-day basis. And according to a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there's one more good reason to prioritize sleep: your diet. Here's what the researchers found.

Studying how sleep affects diet.

Researchers from Ohio State University wanted to study how sleep duration affects dietary choices. To do so, they analyzed data from nearly 20,000 U.S. adults (ranging from 20 to 60 years old) who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007 to 2018.

In the survey, participants recorded how much they slept during the workweek, as well as what they ate and when. Based on the sleep recommendation of seven or more hours, the researchers split up the group into those who were getting enough sleep (more than seven hours)—and those who weren't (less than seven hours).

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What they found.

Based on their analysis, it would appear missing out on sleep can lead to excessive snacking. Almost all of the participants did snack during the day, but those who weren't getting enough sleep tended to snack more often than those who were.

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Further, those snacks were typically high calorie with little nutritional value (i.e., things like soft drinks, chips, baked goods, etc.)

The study also found many of the participants, regardless of sleep duration, were frequently snacking at night. This is yet another reason to set and stick with an early bedtime that allows for adequate rest and prioritize a healthy nightly routine filled with relaxing wind-down activities, screen-free time, and maybe a sleep supplement.*

As senior author of the study, Christopher Taylor, Ph.D., RDN, notes in a news release, "Not only are we not sleeping when we stay up late, but we're doing all these obesity-related behaviors: lack of physical activity, increased screen time, food choices that we're consuming as snacks and not as meals. So it creates this bigger impact of meeting or not meeting sleep recommendations."

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The takeaway.

Both sleep and a healthy diet greatly affect how we feel overall, and we're learning more and more about how these two factors are interwoven. "We know lack of sleep is linked to obesity from a broader scale, but it's all these little behaviors that are anchored around how that happens," Taylor adds.

So, if you're struggling to maintain a healthy diet and find yourself indulging in less-than-optimal snacks, prioritizing good sleep might be just the place to start. At the very least, you'll be well-rested and better able to tackle the day ahead.

sleep support+
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(179)
sleep support+

sleep support+

The deep and restorative sleep you've always dreamt about*

sleep support+

sleep support+

The deep and restorative sleep you've always dreamt about*

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(179)
sleep support+

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