I want you to imagine yourself walking into a board meeting with a box of fresh donuts on the table.
Do you take one or reject the sugary, fatty goodness you know isn’t good for you?
If you grab a donut without hesitating, you’re what we call a mindless eater.
There are a variety of factors that increase the likelihood of mindless eating such as boredom or dehydration.
The obvious solutions there are to keep yourself busy and to drink water regularly.
But here’s a third factor:
Meaning, if you’re not getting enough quality sleep, your chances of eating unnecessary food throughout the day skyrocket.
To make matters worse, poor sleep quality also affects your body’s ability to deposit fat properly.
So not only do you eat more, but your belly will start storing more excess fat.
This was discovered through an extensive sleep study conducted on 12 healthy people over 21 days.
All individuals were given access to food, but the researchers would interfere with some of their sleep by waking them up every 4 hours to replicate poor sleep quality.
The group that experienced poor sleep quality ate, on average, ate 300 extra calories.
They also had a 9% increase in total abdominal fat and an 11% increase in visceral fat. [R]
These kinds of fats are strongly linked to cardiac and metabolic diseases.
With that said, this is yet another reason we should all be sleeping better.
Improving your quality of sleep is very straightforward. We even wrote an article about it here.
But what if you’re not sleep deprived by choice? That’s exactly the case for many night shift or on-call workers.
In these cases, you need to go out of your way to reduce your mindless eating and increase your physical activity.
There are some hacks to this, like keeping snacks and junk food out of sight.
But ultimately, it comes down to discipline.
The interesting thing is, when you’re disciplined in one area of your life, other areas start falling into place.
Get into a consistent exercise routine, and you’ll find yourself not wanting to give into mindless eating.