TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Sleep is very important for overall health, and it can affect our daily functioning. 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.
Researchers from Ohio State University wanted to study how sleep duration affects food choices. To do so, they analyzed data from nearly 20,000 United States adults (aged between 20 and 60 years) 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 work week, as well as what they ate and when. Based on the recommendation of seven hours of sleep or more, the researchers divided the groups into those who got enough sleep (more than seven hours)—and those who didn’t (less than seven hours).
Based on their analysis, it appears that sleep deprivation can cause snack excessive. Nearly all of the participants snacked during the day, but those who slept less tended to snack more often than those who got enough sleep. Furthermore, these snacks are usually high-calorie with little nutritional value, such as soft drinks, chips, baked goods, and others.
The study also found that many participants, regardless of sleep duration, snacked frequently at night. This is another reason to set and maintain an early bedtime that allows for adequate rest and prioritizes a healthy nightly routine filled with relaxing activities, screen-free time, and perhaps sleep supplements.
As the study’s senior author, Christopher Taylor, notes in a news release, not only does he not sleep when he stays up late, but he also engages in all behaviors related to obesity. “The lack of physical activity, increased screen time, the choice of foods we consume as snacks and not as food. So this creates a bigger impact than meeting or not meeting sleep recommendations,” he said, as quoted from the page. Mind Body Green.
Both sleep and a healthy diet greatly affect how we feel overall, and we are learning more and more about how these two factors are related. “We know sleep deprivation is linked to obesity on a broader scale, but all these little behaviors are common,” Taylor added.
So if you’re struggling to maintain a healthy diet and find yourself indulging in sub-optimal snacks, prioritizing good sleep may be a good place to start. At the very least, you will be well rested and better able to face the day ahead.