Getting Enough Sleep Could Help Prevent Unhealthy Stress Eating

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A good night’s sleep is the answer to almost everything, including stressing out during work and overeating.

In a recent study, researchers found that getting a healthy amount of sleep could help to defend yourself from being stressed at work and choosing unhealthy foods. Stress on the job often leads to overeating in the evening, but the chain reaction is prevented as your shut-eye habits become healthier.

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“We found that employees who have a stressful workday tend to bring their negative feelings from the workplace to the dinner table, as manifested in eating more than usual and opting for more junk food instead of healthy food,” said Chu-Hsiang “Daisy” Chang, MSU associate professor of Psychology and study co-author, in a press release.

The buffer of sleep quality affected the employees’ vigor in the morning, weakening any effect of customer mistreatment on negative food. Chang said it also helped the employees make healthier food choices the next day as well.

“Another key finding showed how sleep helped people deal with their stressful eating after work,” Chang said. “When workers slept better the night before, they tended to eat better when they experienced stress the next day.”

The study recommends that companies promote health management for employees, including considering sleep-awareness training and flexible scheduling. The companies should rethink their food options when it comes to food-related job perks, Chang said.

“Food-related perks may only serve as temporary mood-altering remedies for stressed employees,” Chang said, “and failure to address the sources of the work stress may have potential long-term detrimental effects on employee health.”

Related: How to Remedy Constant Workplace Snacking

Tori Linville

Tori Linville is a freelance writer and editor from Clarksville, Tennessee. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she’s faithfully watching her alma mater, the University of Alabama, dominate the football field.