Scientists said people who experience sleep deprivation are predisposed to late night snacking and junk food craving, all of which could expose them to developing chronic diseases including obesity and diabetes.
Researchers from the University of Arizona in the United States (US), found that 60 per cent of people who participated in the study ate late night snacks and two-thirds of them craved junk food before bed. These unhealthy cravings were more prevalent among younger people with depression and poor sleep quality, the new study found.
Researchers found that getting fewer than six hours of sleep correlated with the increased Body Mass Index (BMI) or obesity.
Obesity is a condition where a person has accumulated so much body fat that it might have a negative effect on their health. If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you are considered overweight.
In addition, the cravings were less likely among those who have never been married.
Sleep deprivation is the condition of not having enough sleep; it can be either chronic or acute. A chronic sleep-restricted state can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness and weight loss or weight gain
According to the study, those staying up late were more likely to have late night snacks and have junk food cravings. These two behaviours may also lead to unhealthy eating habits, the study found.
The new study found that lack of sleep impacts the secretion of hormones that signal increase of appetite that makes the body increase the amount of food that is consumed.
Similarly, the researchers in the study also found that the lack of sleep and higher BMI was stronger among children and adolescents.
The survey involved adults in 23 metropolitan areas in the U.S and the participants were asked if they craved junk food when they have lack of sleep.
Similarly, they were asked if they had a snack before they went to bed. Furthermore, the researchers were asked about the quality of their sleep and if they had any existing health problems.
In the study, 3,105 adults participated in the phone-based survey.
Author of the study, Michael A. Grandner, said that this survey put those previous studies into perspective by showing the effects of unhealthy eating behaviours in people.
Another author from the study, Christopher Sanchez, said that the study shows how sleep and eating patterns were linked and can work together to promote health.
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