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Study finds link between job stress, junk food and sleep

London, June 25:-- Stress during the workday can lead to overeating and unhealthy food choices at dinnertime, but there could be a buffer to this harmful pattern.

 

A good night’s sleep can serve as a protecting factor between job stress and unhealthy eating in the evening, indicates a new study co-authored by a Michigan State University scholar.

 

The study, published online in the Journal of Applied Psychology, is one of the first to investigate how psychological experiences at work shape eating behaviors, read the Michigan State University website.

 

“We found that employees who have a stressful workday tend to bring their negative feelings from the workplace to the dinner table, as manifested in eating more than usual and opting for more junk food instead of healthy food,” said Chu-Hsiang “Daisy” Chang, MSU associate professor of psychology and study co-author.

 

“However, another key finding showed how sleep helped people deal with their stressful eating after work,” she added. “When workers slept better the night before, they tended to eat better when they experienced stress the next day.”

 

The research involved two studies of 235 total workers in China. One study dealt with information-technology employees who regularly experienced high workload and felt there was never enough time in the workday. The second study involved call-center workers who often got stressed from having to deal with rude and demanding customers.

 

In both cases, workday stress was linked to employees’ negative mood while on the job, which in turn was linked to unhealthy eating in the evening, said Yihao Liu, co-author and assistant professor at the University of Illinois.

 

The study proposed two potential explanations, Liu said.

 

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