I’ve written before about the relationship between sleep deprivation and weight gain.
In this article, I wanted to address new findings based on a new piece of research published The Journal of Neuroscience (link to study below).
In this study, the researchers took a group of fit and healthy young men and put them through an fMRI machine (functional MRI), which detects which parts of the brain become more active when triggered by a certain stimulus (such as sleep deprivation).
They put these men through 2 different scenarios and studied the impact of that scenario on their decision-making abilities and their carvings for unhealthy foods:
Scenario 1: normal sleeping;
Scenario 2: a SINGLE night of sleep deprivation.
What they discovered is this:
Compared to Scenario 1, when these healthy young men were faced with a single night of sleep deprivation (Scenario 2), the following happened:
The concentration of des-acyl ghrelin (DA-Ghrelin) increased. DA-Ghrelin leads to a HIGHER BLOOD SUGAR levels and increased HUNGER.
The men were willing to spend MORE MONEY on food (unhealthy snacks).
The parts of the brain associated with pleasure were much more activated. In other words, snacking resulted in MORE PLEASURE when sleep deprived.
Does all this sound familiar?
It should, because if you’ve ever had a “bad night of sleep”, you would have faced “sugar cravings” throughout the day, and you would have felt that “pleasure” after eating a snack.
To summarize, the study shows that:
Sleep deprivation may result in an increase in hormones that make you HUNGRY and keep your blood sugar ELEVATED;
Sleep deprivation may make you spend MORE MONEY on unhealthy snacks;
Sleep deprivation may make you seek MORE PLEASURE from eating those snacks.
So get some sleep!