Poor Body Image Means Sleep-Deprivation, Carb Cravings for Teen Girls, Study Finds

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Teens

body image

Study finds correlation between sleep and body image. Credit: Getty Images

Teen girls have struggled with their appearances for decades, but new research shows it's not just peer pressure that's contributing to their body image battles.

Sleep -- or lack of it -- is not helping things, according to two new studies presented at this week's meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, "Good Morning America" reports.

One study showed teenage girls who felt they had to lose weight had more trouble falling asleep than others, while another study reports sleep-deprived teens are more apt to reach for carbs, according to the morning news show.

"If you're not satisfied with how you look, I think you might feel anxious about how you think you look to other people," Katherine Marczyk, lead author of the body image study, tells "GMA." "And when you're trying to fall asleep, you might be ruminating about that."

Researchers from the second study tell the news show a craving for carbs increases the less you sleep, according to the news show.

"Carbs are great, but you need to have them with some protein," Dr. Keith Ayoob, director of the Rose R. Kennedy Center Nutrition Clinic and associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, tells "GMA." "Protein is especially important in the mornings. It can be as simple as eating a bit of last night's dinner in addition to that bowl of cereal, or a hard-boiled egg."

Teens having trouble sleeping should be taken seriously by their parents, researchers tell the show, as they can be an indicator of anxiety, depression or other mood disorders.

"Parents should look out for their kids skipping meals," Ayoob tells "GMA." "If they can't seem to go to sleep at night for extended period of time, you want to make sure that a doctor is involved. And if you suspect an eating disorder, that's a sign they need help."

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