Is there a link between diet and productivity? Unhealthy late-night snacking may make people less productive at work the next day, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
For the investigation, 97 participants with full-time jobs filled out surveys three times a day—at 8 a.m., 6 p.m. and before bed at 9:30 p.m .—for 10 days. The survey asked questions about respondents’ physical and mental health, what they ate and drank, and what they accomplished at work. This helped test the lagged effect of the prior evening’s eating habits on the next day’s work performance.
Those with so-called “unhealthy eating” habits at night, such as too much snacking, spent less time doing “helping behaviors” at work—for example, assisting a co-worker with a task. They also had more “withdrawal behaviors,” including avoiding work-related situations while on the clock. The researchers speculate that this is due to a combination of physical strain (like stomachache or headache) and emotional strain (like feelings of shame or guilt). Some people, however, didn’t think twice about what they ate the day before, so it did not affect their work output.
These findings should provide more incentive for companies to implement education about diet and productivity to include healthy eating behaviors into their corporate wellness programs.
See also: Cycling Workstations and Productivity
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