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Sleeplessness Triggers Late Night Junk Food Snacking

By Sandy Schroeder

If you snack late at night and are toting a few extra pounds, the cause may be lack of sleep. As a confirmed night owl who loves to snack on late night nachos, I can definitely relate. It all seems perfectly OK at midnight. The next day, not so much.

Tracing the Problem

In an effort to unravel the problem, researchers from the University of Arizona found sleeplessness may be at the core of the issue, increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes while junk food cravings hit the ceiling.

The researchers did a national phone survey of some 3,000 adults in 23 U.S. urban areas. Here’s what they asked:

  • Do you have any existing health problems
  • Describe the quality of your sleep
  • Do you regularly eat nighttime snacks
  • Does lack of sleep lead you to crave more junk food

Here are the results:

  • 60 percent said they had regular nightly snacks
  • Two-thirds said sleeplessness caused them to crave junk food
  • Many who craved junk food were obese and/or had diabetes

Researchers suggest this connection between junk food, poor sleep and late night eating may show a significant way that sleep helps regulate metabolism.

Previous British research showed sleep-deprived adults who got six hours sleep per night were more likely to have apple shapes with a larger waist than participants who got nine hours sleep. Another study out of China found children who slept less were more likely to be overweight than those who slept longer.

If all of these finding make you feel as if the researchers were looking over your shoulder, welcome to the club. Finding your way out of that addictive snack-filled midnight situation is obviously the key to better performance in the daytime, a slimmer figure, and a lower risk of diabetes.

Stay tuned to future research on this issue and make sleep a key goal with tips like these.

  • Make your bedtime a sleep retreat
  • Use air filters to screen noise and clean the air
  • Use light-blocking drapes to control light
  • Leave phones, tablets and TVs outside of the bedroom
  • Keep the same bedtime hours every night including weekends
  • Update your mattress and pillows
  • Cut out caffeine early in the afternoon
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol and electronics at least two hours before bedtime

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lawrenceville, Ga.

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