Nightime snacking may lead to poor sleep and obesity

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In Arizona, nighttime snacking and junk food cravings may contribute to unhealthy eating behaviors and represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity, according to University of Arizona Health Sciences sleep researchers.

Junk food cravings were associated with double the increase in the likelihood of nighttime snacking, which was associated with an increased diabetes risk. Poor sleep quality seemed to be a major predictor of junk food cravings, and that junk food cravings were associated with a greater likelihood of participants reporting obesity, diabetes and other health problems.

“Sleep is increasingly recognized as an important factor in health, alongside nutrition,” said Christopher Sanchez, UA undergraduate nutrition and dietetics major, who is the lead author of the study and a student research assistant in the Sleep and Health Research Program directed by Dr. Grandner. “This study shows how sleep and eating patterns are linked and work together to promote health.”