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Are Sleepless Nights the Real Reason Why You Can't Say No to Junk Food?


Dreaming of the perfect body will only get you so far - according to a recent study, in order to make your nighttime fantasies a reality, you've got to get a good night's rest first!

Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden found that lack of sleep can affect the results of your fitness and diet plan in significant ways by making you more likely to indulge on junk food like pizza, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and potato chips.

The team, led by Pleunie Hogenkamp, recruited 16 males of normal weight for the study and let them pick their perfect portions for high-calorie meals. The participants did this following an evening where they slept a full eight hours, and then again during an evening where they were up all night.

They discovered that participants were more likely to choose larger portions if they hadn't slept the night before - an important finding that demonstrates the link between sleep deprivation and eating habits.

"Bearing in mind that insufficient sleep is a growing problem in modern society, our results may explain why poor sleep habits can affect people's risk to gain weight in the long run," said Hogenkamp.

But if you think tackling insomnia is easy, you must be dreaming! In order to get the restful night's sleep your body needs, there may be a few habits you'll need to curb. 

Bedside manner to avoid:

  • Too much caffeine before bed interferes with your body's reaction to adenosine, a neurotransmitter that let's you know when it's time to hit the sheets. It can also add stress to your body's endocrine system and adrenal glands, which is where that oh-so-lovely feeling of burnout comes from.
  • Speaking of which, drinking beverages that are high in sugar (and yes, this includes alcohol!) can increase your body's insulin and could make it tough to drift off into la-la land.
  • Working out on gym equipment can promote healthy sleep hygiene, unless you're doing so right before bed. Then, it can actually have the opposite effect and leave you feeling too energized to head to sleep. To be on the safe side, establish an exercise regimen and stick to it as best you can.
  • Limit your exposure to electronic devices like cell phones and tablets right before bed. It may not seem like it, but devices featuring LED backlighting can actually put strain on your eyes and make it hard to fall asleep. 

Cybex is a provider and manufacturer of premium commercial fitness equipment. Content featured in the Cybex Fitness Blog is meant to inspire healthy living and wellness and should not be taken as medical advice. For medical advice please consult a doctor.