Whether you’re staying up late preparing for the holidays, traveling, or attending parties with friends and family - this time of year has never been known as a time to catch up on sleep. And that might not be such a good thing if you are trying not to over indulge on all of the extra goodies laying around during the holidays. A new study suggests lack of sleep, even for just one night, can make you feel extra hungry the next day and make poor choices for your diet.
Web MD reports about a new study from the University of Cologne in Germany that looked at the effects of one sleepless night on our appetites. In the past, overeating has been attributed to not getting enough sleep due to changes in hormone levels. But upon comparing blood tests and MRI’s for this new study, it seems that the appetite changes may have more to do with a neurological effect that lack of sleep has on us rather than hormone fluctuation.
Participants involved in the study slept for a normal 7 or 8 hours and then the next night were kept awake in the lab. Researchers found that participants were much more likely to choose snack foods as a reward rather than some other type of trinket when they had had less sleep.
The study’s author, Jan Peters, explains the findings from the MRI’s on the participants. She says, “After a night of lost sleep, the participants' brain images showed increased activity in a circuit between the amygdala and hypothalamus, which is involved in food intake. This suggests sleep loss increased the desirability of food compared to non-food rewards.”
But whatever is making us eat in an unhealthy way after less sleep isn’t really what we all need to worry about. The simple solution would be to make sure you get more sleep so that maybe you will decide you don’t actually want that second piece of pie.
What do you think of the new study that suggests lack of sleep causes us to be more hungry and possibly make poor food choices?
Do you tend to overindulge when you’re tired?