We already knew some of the benefits of getting seven to eight hours sleep a night, but here's another one: research suggests that a good night's sleep can help curb cravings for sweet and salty food.
According to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, getting a good amount of shut-eye overnight might just be the secret to sticking away from the junk food aisle.
The findings suggest that for individuals who aren't getting enough sleep, getting those extra hours could help reduce cardiometabolic risk.
But how does junk food come into this?
More time spent under the doona resulted in "improved direct and indirect measures of insulin sensitivity, decreased leptin and peptide tyrosine‐tyrosine, and reductions in overall appetite, desire for sweet and salty foods, intake of daily free sugar, and percentage of daily caloric intake from protein," the study wrote.
The research included seven studies and 138 participants with differing levels of weight and heart health but all short-sleepers. Scientists aimed to increase their sleep duration by any means.
Participants successfully increased their total sleep time by between 21 and 177 minutes.
"Given the overwhelming evidence that sleeping less than seven hours is associated with an increased cardiometabolic risk, it is surprising that so few studies have explored whether extending sleep duration can lower cardiometabolic risk," says lead author Rob Henst, Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
"Although we have focused on studies with sleep extension interventions in this review, it is now apparent that poor sleep quality may be an equally important risk factor for cardiometabolic disease," added senior author Dr. Dale Rae.
"Thus future studies testing interventions aimed at improving sleep quality are also required.
"It is now apparent that poor sleep quality may be an equally important risk factor for cardio-metabolic diseases," he continues.