Improving sleep quality might reduce the risk of night-time snacking and decrease the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, research suggests.
While these findings likely won’t surprise too many people, they add further evidence on the importance of the relationship between lack of sleep and type 2 diabetes.
University of Arizona researchers analysed 3,105 adults in this new study, asking them about their night-time snack consumption and whether poor sleep quality increased their junk food cravings.
The results showed that 60% of participants reported regular night-time snacking, and two-thirds cited a lack of sleep increased cravings. Overall, junk food cravings were associated with double the risk of night-time snacking, which was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
One of the researchers, Dr Michael A. Grandner, said “Laboratory studies suggest that sleep deprivation can lead to junk food cravings at night, which leads to increased unhealthy snacking at night, which then leads to weight gain.
“This study provides important information about the process, that these laboratory findings may actually translate to the real world. This connection between poor sleep, junk food cravings and unhealthy night-time snacking may represent an important way that sleep helps regulate metabolism.”
Fellow sleep expert Christopher Sanchez, who was also involved in the research, added: “Sleep is increasingly recognized as an important factor in health, alongside nutrition. This study shows how sleep and eating patterns are linked and work together to promote health.”
Eating a healthy, real food diet can help improve your sleep quality, as can getting regular exercise, lowering your alcohol intake and avoiding stimulants close to bedtime.
For people with existing type 2 diabetes, keeping good control of blood sugar levels can help you to settle into a regular sleeping patter, which may in turn reduce cravings for night-time snacking.
The study is being presented at the 2018 national meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, which is taking place between 2-6 June in Baltimore, America.

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