So this must be why we inhaled so much sugar in college: Getting rid of your nasty sugar habit could be as easy as catching a few zzz’s, according to a new study published in Sleep Medicine. A team based primarily at King’s College in London recently enlisted 43 slightly sleep-deprived volunteers willing to help investigate. The researchers set out to see whether adding just a little extra time to their sleep schedule had an effect on their overall diet.
Roughly half of the study’s participants were coached on a few best practices for getting a good night’s rest — while the other half was left to their own drowsy devices. The tips provided included advice to avoid high levels of caffeine, establish a relaxing bedtime routine, and try not to go to bed too full or hungry.
The ones primed for a quality snooze were instructed to attempt to add 90 minutes to their sleep time each night. Approximately 86 percent of them did spend more time in bed each night; 50 percent actually managed to spend more time asleep. In total, the group averaged an extra 21 minutes of sleep each night.
With just over 20 extra minutes of sleep, the group ate an average of nearly 10 fewer grams of free sugars each day — those are the kind of sugars added in candy, sodas, and other processed food. In the control group, the intensity of participants’ sugar cravings remained stagnant.
If you’re feeling crazy around sweets, these results suggest you should try to move up your bedtime to feel a bit more balanced. There’s more to gain from getting more sleep than eating less dessert, though — here are 15 other disturbing things that happen to your body when you’re sleep deprived.