Study reveals sleeping for an extra 20 minutes each night could help you stop snacking

A longer night’s sleep might be the key to curbing your snacking habit, according to a new study.

Researchers at King’s College in London have discovered that getting an extra 20 minutes of kip could stop you from consuming around 385 extra calories a day.

To reach their conclusion, 42 individuals deemed to be of a normal weight were studied. The subjects were also slightly sleep-deprived, closing their lids for between five and less than seven hours each evening.

Of the focus group, half of the participants were given tips on how to sleep for longer which included reducing caffeine intake and establishing a night time routine. The others were given no additional advice.

86 per cent of the group presented with sleep suggestions managed to increase their time in bed by an average of 55 minutes and half boosted their sleep by 21 minutes on average.

Interestingly, the team at King’s College also found that getting a month of better sleep in led people to decrease their consumption of sugar by around 9.6 grams a day.

‘The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of free sugars, by which we mean the sugars that are added to foods by manufacturers or in cooking at home as well as sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice, suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets’, said Dr Wendy Hall.

Lead researcher Haya Al Khatib added: ‘We have shown that sleep habits can be changed with relative ease in healthy adults using a personalised approach.

‘Our results also suggest that increasing time in bed for an hour or so longer may lead to healthier food choices. This further strengthens the link between short sleep and poorer quality diets that has already been observed by previous studies.

‘We hope to investigate this finding further with longer-term studies examining nutrient intake and continued adherence to sleep extension behaviours in more detail, especially in populations at risk of obesity or cardiovascular disease.’

So you get more time in bed and a chance to slim down? We might give it a try…