Anyone who’s survived for any length of time on too little sleep knows all too well the compulsion to make a vending machine run for a mid-morning snack.
It turns out that missing the recommended seven or more hours of sleep every night is linked to chowing down on more carbohydrates, extra sugar, fats and caffeine.
Ohio State University researchers analyzed data from nearly 20,000 American adults ranging in age from 20 to 60. From 2007 through 2018, the survey tracked participants’ sleep, what they ate and when they ate it. The researchers divided survey respondents into groups who reported getting seven hours of sleep and those who didn’t.
Among their findings: We’re all too snack-happy. Regardless of how much sleep we get, we favor salty, crunchy foods, sweets and non-alcoholic drinks. But those who skip sleep also tend to consume more calories in a day from snacks.
Staying up late isn’t only bad for us from a nutrition standpoint. When we stay up, we tend to behave in ways that contribute to weight gain: specifically, not moving much and often staring at a screen.
Their analysis showed that nearly everyone — more than 95 percent — ate at least one snack a day, including soda or energy drinks and chips, pretzels and cookies.
Those who reported getting the least amount of sleep were more likely to eat a morning snack and to consume more high-calorie snacks with less nutritional value.
The bottom line: Pushing yourself to hit the sack earlier might just improve your diet, too. After all, you can’t sleep and snack at the same time.