People Who Sleep Less May Eat More

First Posted: Jun 01, 2015 11:52 PM EDT

People who sleep less may eat more, according to recent findings published in the Journal Health Psychology (JHP).

"It is well recognized that food intake is implicated in many chronic health issues including obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and diet is often a target of treatment to prevent the onset of these conditions," researchers Alyssa Lundahl and Timothy D Nelson of the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, said in a news release.

However, the researchers added that "understanding the mechanisms linking disrupted sleep patterns to increased food intake is important for informing both prevention and treatment interventions for chronic health conditions." 

Bad sleep can decrease the hormone that controls appetite, which could simultaneously boost stress levels and significantly increase the desire for food that might compensate for fatigue and impulsivity.

"Health psychologists should be mindful of the link between sleep and eating, and sleep should be actively considered in efforts to modify dietary behavior," researchers noted.

"The research stimulated by Lundahl and Nelson has important treatment implications for health conditions often treated with dietary interventions and illustrates the need for research to empirically examine the underlying mechanisms of food intake. It is important for people to be aware the findings of this study so that if they suffering from lack of sleep, they can take greater care to consider the quality and quantity of food that they are consuming," concluded Dr. David Marks, editor of the Journal of Health Psychology (JHP).

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