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Are you getting enough sleep?
Do you have trouble controlling your cravings for junk food?
If the answer to the first question is “No,” and the answer to the second question is “Yes,” then you might find this recent research study interesting.
A study published in the journal Nature Communications examined the brains of 23 healthy, young people after a sound night’s sleep and after a restless night’s sleep. There were differences in the brain activity and in the participant’s desire for junk food after a full nights sleep and a restless night sleep. Additionally, Matthew Walker, one of the researchers said,
“…high-calorie foods also became significantly more desirable when participants were sleep-deprived. This combination of altered brain activity and decision-making may help explain why people who sleep less also tend to be overweight or obese.”
Sleep depravation is never good for you whether you are trying to lose weight or not. WebMD has a list of 10 things that a lack of sleep affects from a lack of mental acuity to more serious health problems. Some of the health problems include heart problems and diabetes. That list, which I sent to my husband John, makes me feel as though I need to make a more solid commitment to getting a full night’s sleep.
From a food perspective, I know that for me, when I do not get enough sleep, I seem to have a harder time resisting foods that I normally do not crave when I am more rested. On a day to day basis, I rarely crave salty foods like chips or crackers, but when I am tired, I do feel myself wanting those foods. I am able to resist eating those types of foods because I do not have those foods in the house, which is a good thing.
It can be really hard to get enough sleep if you’ve got small kids, work long hours, or are a late night person. I do tend to go to bed early but I also get up really early. If I stay up later because John and I are out on a date or we are watching a movie with the kids, I still get up at the same time! (What’s with that?) That means that sometimes I only get 4 or 5 hours of sleep, which definitely affects me throughout the day.
When I read this study I recommitted myself to getting a good night sleep whenever possible. I’ll let you know how I fare!
How about your sleep patterns? Can you tell a difference in your food cravings when you are a bit sleep deprived? Diane