Snacking Your Way Through Lockdown

Snacking Your Way Through Lockdown

Snacking your way through lock down? Here’s how your sleep can impact your appetite and food preferences.

This is a very bizarre time we are living through, and it is very normal for this to affect us all in different ways. Recent surveys hosted online have shown that more than half of us are in fact sleeping less during lock down, which may be due to stress and whole host of other factors.

What the science tells us is that our sleep can influence our eating habits the next day, so if you’re trying to get to the root cause of increase snacking and constant grazing through the day keep reading on.

Research has shown that at least 2 consecutive nights of sleep restriction (4 hours in bed) was associated with a 28% increase in our hunger hormone, ghrelin and an 18% reducing in our fullness hormone, leptin, leading to increased hunger and appetite. What’s more, in this particular study they showed that hunger and appetite increased for foods with a high carbohydrate content with a low nutrient content such as sweets, chocolate, salty snacks and starchy foods.

Other studies show that 14 consecutive days of restricted sleep (5.5 hours in bed) increases total calorie intake late at night, when participants would generally be sleeping, also highlighting the vulnerability for weight gain induced by sleep loss.

So, it’s clear to see that neglecting our sleep at the moment can lead to biological changes increasing appetite and cravings for sweeter and salty, energy dense foods.

There are many factors that could be affecting our sleep quality and quantity including:

  • Stress
  • Increase use of electronic devices, especially in the evening close to bedtime
  • Changes in work environments and working from home, making it harder to switch off near to bedtime
  • Eating meals close to bedtime
  • High caffeine intakes (especially in the afternoon and evening)
  • Decreased protein intakes
  • Exercise (either lack of or intense exercise late in the evening close to bedtime)

Please head over to my Instagram for a series of recent posts on all these factors affecting sleep and how to take actions to improve your sleep quality.

*** This blog post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for seeking professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information provided here is general and is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any diseases or conditions. Please contact your GP or private health consultant if you have any personal health concerns, or consult a registered nutritional therapist for personalised dietary and lifestyle advice and guidance.

Spiegel, K., Tasali, E., Penev, P. and Van Cauter, E., 2004. Brief communication: sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Annals of internal medicine141(11), pp.846-850.

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