If you’ve ever had a bad day and resorted to a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream to feel better at the end of a long day, you’re not alone. There’s just something about junk food that sounds so appealing when you’re frustrated or sad. Nevertheless, too much junk food isn’t healthy and, while sometimes it can make you feel better in the moment, over the long-term it isn’t healthy. Recently, evidence has surfaced indicating that a good night’s rest may help you kick these cravings.
The Journal of Applied Psychology published a study that revealed that people who sleep well at night may be less likely to overdo it on junk food after a hard day. The study consisted of about 235 men and women from China, who either worked in a high-stress environment or a place with less pressure on them. It was found that the people with more stress tended to lean toward more junk food, but those who got the proper amount of sleep at night were more likely to steer clear of it.
While this study only included 235 people, they seem to be onto something. I think we've all been in high-stress or depressed situations where we made unhealthy eating choices. Do you tend to reach for junk food during stressful times? Or after a poor night's rest?
Get Your Rest
Co-author of the study Chu-Hsiang Chang from Michigan State University explained the reason for this is that people who are better rested also tend to be better equipped to handle stressful situations during the day. Thus, by getting through the day without becoming overwhelmed, they can seek out healthier options rather than fat and sugar-filled junk food.
So if you’re in the habit of turning to comfort food at the end of the day, ask yourself: Am I getting enough hours of sleep at night? By finding ways to get a better rest, you can not only increase your chances of eating healthier, but also feel stronger both mentally and physically.