A new study reports that late-night snacks can make a person less productive at work, affecting his overall work performance the next day. This is the first time that a study has related unhealthy snacking with productivity at the workplace. Health experts always knew that there is some link between these two but there wasn’t any study to confirm the severity of this link.
Seonghee “Sophia” Cho from the North Carolina State University is the corresponding author of this study. According to her, the interaction between all health-related actions for example sleeping cycle, preference of exercise, and diet change the work performance and the late-night snacking is the newest addition to this list. Before this study, no one actually looked at these interactions although their link was predictive.
The complete study details are published in the journal Journal of Applied Psychology.
In this current study, there were two main questions that the research team tried to explain. First, how unhealthy behavior changes work performance, and secondly if yes, why does that happen.
To get answers, they collected data from 97 US-based people who were full-time employed. This data was obtained through different questions asked thrice a day for a maximum of ten days. These questions were asked before they leaving for work and mainly focused on physical health and emotional condition. By the end of every day, they reported about the work that they did throughout the day by answering more questions. Before sleeping, they were asked about their dietary habits including the snacks especially late-night snacks and alcohol details.
The research team estimated the ‘unhealthy eating’ by a situation where these study participants felt that they have eaten more than their capacity or appetite, and this food was mostly junk. It also included the late-night snacks when they weren’t very hungry yet ate empty calories food at odd hours and slept immediately.
Based on the results, the research team found that unhealthy eating patterns such as late-night snacks cause a number of physical issues the next day which may include digestive issues, headaches, and low energy. Moreover, unhealthy eating was also linked with poor emotional health where most people were regretful of their unhealthy snacking the night before. Collectively all these things affected their work performance, causing them to be less productive, focused, or interested in work.
Now if it only happens once in a while, late-night snacking may not be a problem; but the worst part is that people tend to repeat it every other night and poor work performance can cost them their job. Additionally, this emotional guilt of unhealthy eating also initiates a withdrawal behavior causing them to keep a distance from their colleagues or friends, increasing the risk of social anxiety.
The results also revealed that mindful eating can save from all this hassle and people who follow self-control especially for late-night snacks don’t experience any effects of unhealthy dietary habits. They are more aware of what they are doing to their bodies and how their eating decisions may affect their physical and emotional health. To make it more appealing, this current study has added the new benefit of improved work performance associated with healthy dietary habits thus urges people at highly respectful jobs to be more cautious of what they are feeding to their bodies.