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Avoid Eating At Night, It May Increase Risk Of Depression And Anxiety

Beware, Night Owls, Shift Workers! Late night snacking can take a toll on your mental health. Nighttime eating linked to increased mood vulnerability.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : September 13, 2022 1:36 PM IST

If possible, try to avoid nighttime eating and stick to daytime eating only. A new study has suggested that eating at night can have a negative impact on your mental health and make you vulnerable to developing depression and anxiety.

Beware, Night Owls, Shift Workers! Late night snacking can do more harm than you can imagine. It can take a toll on your mental health.

A research team from Brigham and Women's Hospital conducted a study to understand the effects of meal timing on mental health. They compared the health effects of daytime and nighttime eating versus daytime eating only.

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They found increased depression and anxiety-related mood levels among participants in the daytime and nighttime eating group, but those in the daytime-only eating group experienced this increase. Their depression-like mood levels increased by 26 per cent, and anxiety-like mood levels by 16 per cent, the study said.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggested that meal timing may help determine mood vulnerability.

Not just what you eat, but when you eat is also important

The researchers noted that the timing of your food intake is very important, and their findings can help in developing a novel strategy to reduce mood vulnerability related to circadian misalignment, often seen in shift workers, and people experiencing jet lag, or suffering from circadian rhythm disorders.

While the study shows that the timing of food intake matters for our mood, the investigators stressed that more studies are required to confirm if changes in meal timing can help people with depressive and anxiety/anxiety-related disorders.

Previous research had already shown that shift workers are at higher risk of depression and anxiety.

Daily habits that can affect your mental health

Some of your daily habits can have unintended effects on your mental health. These include:

Not getting adequate sleep: Research has shown that people who sleep less than 6 hours of sleep per night are more likely to report mental distress than those who get more than 6 hours of sleep daily.

Spending too much time on social media: Excessive use of social media has been linked to increased feelings of low self-worth, anxiety and depression and other mental health issues.

Eating unhealthy diet: Poor diet can increase risk of stress and depression as well as aggravate mental problems. Too much of alcohol, caffeine, refined carbs, and added sugars is not good for your brain.

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