Okay night owls, I'm going to lay it on you.
A recent study shows that those who stay up late are more likely to eat junk food and less likely to be active compared to early risers. And it's not because, by choice, morning people are weirdos who seem to live perfect lives. There's a legit biological reason why night owls crave fatty foods.
The study done by researchers at Northwestern University involved studying the sleep schedules of 96 adults between the ages of 18 to 50 for one week. They slept around six and a half to seven and a half hours per night, and wore monitors that tracked their sleep and physical activities. The participants were also required to log what they ate every day for the week.
What did they find? Basically, early birds ate more vegetables and night owls ate more junk food. Based on the study, night owls, who went to bed at around 12:45 am on average, were also less active.
But just because night owls ate worse than early birds didn't mean they weighed more. In fact, the participants' body fat percentage were all in the normal range, which was pretty surprising. The study even suggests that night owls possibly have higher metabolisms.
Staying up late didn't mean they ate more calories than early risers, but the foods they did eat were definitely unhealthy. So, night owls, don't read this and think you can keep eating crap and expect nothing to happen.
The researchers found that there are probably two main reasons why night owls eat more junk food. The first is that it could be biological because if you go to bed later, you're going to crave fattier foods for energy. The second is that it might be social. If you're out late at night with friends, you're more likely to eat crappier food. Either way, it's not a great situation if you're trying to eat healthier.
So here's the good news: If you're a night owl, the research suggested that your sleep schedule isn't what needs to change to eat healthier.
What's most important is making sure you're not eating too much junk. That means night owls who also care about eating healthy should be more conscious of what they're munching on.