It’s a worrisome equation: Below-par sleep habits can trigger below-par food choices, and the two together can equal a higher risk for conditions like heart disease and obesity, suggests a report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers from Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York analyzed the sleep and eating habits of an ethnically diverse group of 495 women, ages 20–76, and found that those who had worse sleep quality overall—including taking longer to fall asleep—consumed more added sugars, had higher daily calorie intake and ate more food by weight.

One hypothesis is that poor sleep quality may lead to poor eating habits by stimulating hunger signals or suppressing bodily signals of fullness. In a vicious cycle, it could be that an unhealthy diet turns around to contribute to a night of counting sheep. This drives home the necessity of including guidance on good sleep hygiene as part of an overall wellness program.

See also: Sleep Tight on a Healthy Diet