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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2014 Jan;72:106-13.
doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.10.001. Epub 2013 Oct 19.

The Role of Emotional Eating and Stress in the Influence of Short Sleep on Food Consumption

Randomized Controlled Trial

The Role of Emotional Eating and Stress in the Influence of Short Sleep on Food Consumption

Julia S Dweck et al. Appetite. .


Short sleep duration is associated with elevated body mass index (BMI) and increased energy consumption. The present studies were conducted to determine what role emotional eating and stress might play in these relationships. The first was an exploratory questionnaire study in which sleep quality and duration were measured in conjunction with the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire in 184 women. Emotional and external eating scores were significantly higher in those who reported poor sleep quality (but were not related to sleep duration). In a second study of 64 women who were provided with snacks in the laboratory under stressed and control conditions, elevated food consumption was observed in those who scored high on emotional eating and who reported short sleep (a significant stress × emotional eating × sleep duration interaction) but not in those who reported poor sleep quality. No effects were found in liking or wanting of food and few effects were found on appetite. BMI was not related to sleep duration or sleep quality in either study. The results suggest that the relationship between short sleep and elevated food consumption exists in those who are prone to emotional eating. An external stressor elevated consumption in normal sleepers to the level observed in short sleepers, however, it did not significantly elevate consumption in short sleepers. Future examinations of the effects of sleep duration and quality on food consumption should examine emotional eating status.

Keywords: BMI; Eating behavior; Emotional eating; Sleep deprivation; Sleep quality; Stress.

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