Tucson: Are you in the habit of  munching on a packet of chips or any other such snack in the middle of the night? It indeed is an unhealthy eating behaviour, but besides that, it can also result in poor sleep and obesity, according to a new study.

The research suggests that lack of sleep is the major cause of junk food cravings, and it was associated with a greater likelihood of participants reporting obesity, diabetes and other health problems. A phone-based survey conducted for this study, presented at the 32nd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS) in Baltimore, analysed data from 3,105 adults. The results showed that about 60%  of the participants reported regular nighttime snacking and two-thirds reported that lack of sleep led them to crave more junk food.

Adverse effects of sleep deprivation

According to Michael A. Grandner from Department of Psychiatry in the University of Arizona in Tucson, US sleep deprivation can lead to junk food cravings at night, which in turn leads to increased unhealthy snacking at night, which ultimately leads to weight gain. This connection between poor sleep, junk food cravings and unhealthy night time snacking may represent an important way that sleep helps regulate metabolism

The research team also found that junk food cravings were associated with double the increase in the likelihood of nighttime snacking, which was associated with an increased risk for diabetes.

“Sleep is increasingly recognised as an important factor in health, alongside nutrition. This study shows how sleep and eating patterns are linked and work together to promote health,” said Christopher Sanchez from the varsity.