The chronically sleep-deprived may be more likely to succumb to anxious snacking. Getting adequate sleep has been shown to reduce your cortisol levels — the hormone that rises when you’re anxious or stressed. “Not getting enough sleep contributes to depression, irritability and reduced ability to control stress and anxiety. All of these things will further contribute to vulnerability for emotional eating in at risk individuals,” says Jacobs.
A recent study presented at the American Heart Association’s annual Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism conference found that people who were sleep deprived tended to overeat. In fact, compared with people who got to sleep as much as they wanted, those who were rousted out of bed too early ate 550 additional calories every day. Healthland’s Alice Park wrote:
Getting a consistent and sufficient amount of sleep each night may play an important role in regulating how much we eat and how many calories we burn, and it may also help determine when we eat. Eating when we should be sleeping, for example, may increase the risk of weight gain, as the body is more likely to turn nighttime calories into fat rather than burning them off.