A new study from The Ohio State University (OSU) found that you will eat more unhealthy foods if you don’t get enough sleep. This was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Researchers looked at 20,000 people who were a part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that those who didn’t get enough sleep would pick less-healthy food to eat.
The people who didn’t meet the sleep recommendations had more calories, carbohydrates, and added sugars during their evening snacks. This study was done by Christopher Taylor, a professor of medical dietetics in the school of health and rehabilitation sciences at OSU. He is also the senior author of this study.
Beverages, snacks, and sweet things are the hardest for people to stop eating. They are drinking their calories and eating more of these high-sugar foods.
Taylor adds that staying awake longer can lead to obesity and chronic disease. This is because the person might be lazier and spend more time on screens or eating snacks.
Zoë Schroeder, MS, RDN, CSCS, do not think that this study is surprising. When you do not get enough sleep, your hunger hormone ghrelin is increased. This leads to increased eating and snacking on less nutritious foods.
Poor sleep affects the food choices you have the next day. If you are awake at night, you will likely eat snacks. And if you don’t use up all your energy, your body will store it as fat.
Angela Houlie, a registered dietitian and owner of My Fruitful Body Nutrition PLLC, also agrees with the study. She says that you are more likely to eat unhealthy food if you do not get enough sleep.
She also noted that poor sleep affects your moods, your decision-making skills, and your concentration.
If you are always hungry, whether or not you got enough sleep, Marissa Meshulam, MS, RD, CDN, has some healthy snacks for you to eat. She says that Greek yogurt is “super high in protein and filling,” and eggs are good too.
You can also try dried chickpeas snacks, avocados with vegetables, cottage cheese with tomatoes, or fruits with nut butter options. All of these are healthy and delicious!