We all know that not getting enough sleep is bad for us. I’ve known it my whole life. I haven’t needed a research study to confirm it for me. After all, it feels awful while you’re lying awake at night watching the minutes and hours tick by. It feels even worse as you drag yourself around the following day. I don’t think clearly, can’t get motivated to do anything active, and am most likely to order in meals on days when I’m drained and not well rested. Lately, I’ve been sleeping poorly and snacking hungrily…think they’re related?
Am I Snacking More Because I’m Not Getting Enough Sleep?
I often start my day with Google News headlines and a recent one caught my attention. It was about a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics by a team from Ohio State University. What it found was that not getting enough sleep – which they defined as a minimum of 7 hours per night, based on the CDC recommendations – can lead to increased unhealthy snacking.
Well, waddaya know? I could be on to something. I was wondering why I’d been doing so well, then boom, I’m grazing all the live-long day. Turns out it could be because my rest at night has been poor for the last couple of weeks. It’s broken and takes me forever to get back to sleeping once I wake up!
Based on my Fitbit tracking last night, for instance, I got a sleep score of 53 (Poor) with 3 hours and 4 minutes of rest because I just couldn’t get back to sleep again after I woke up at 1:03am. That was the second time I woke up. I’d been so tired that I was asleep before 9:30pm, but then I woke up around 11:15pm, finally got to sleep again, and then was awake the whole night after 1:00am. It sure wasn’t for lack of exhaustion!
Eating All the Time
Ever since I’m not getting enough sleep, I’m eating all the time. All I seem to think about is snacking. Not meals, snacking. My main exercise has been getting up from my desk to hunt down something I can nibble on. Then, once that’s done, I get up again for more.
According to the research I read this morning, when we’re not getting enough sleep, we tend to go for more calories, carbs and added sugars overall. This is particularly true of evening snacking, said the researchers. For me, it’s afternoon snacking. I seem to be okay in the evening (comparatively).
The research also found that people tended to go for more sweetened and alcoholic beverages when they weren’t getting enough rest. This isn’t the case for me. I do tend to lean toward sweet, baked snacks though, just like their study sample. I’ve decided to start using the nighttime sleep aid ZIESTA to help me get my rest back on track. We’ll see if it cuts my bad snacking. I’ll be sure to let you know!