Sleep Deprivation and Junk Food Snacking – The Real Deal
A recent study in the journal Nature Communications used special imaging to look at the brains of 23 healthy young adults, first after a good night’s sleep, and again after a sleepless night. The study results suggest that sleep deprivation seems to impair the part of the brain that governs decision-making, while increasing the power of deeper brain reward centers. The net result of a short sleep? You are less able to make intelligent, common sense decisions about food, and you are especially vulnerable to wanting the kinds of unhealthy junk food that does indeed raise serotonin, the pleasure, mood-boosting hormone. This can further promote a cycle of unnecessary eating.
To translate this to your personal life, it means that after a bad night’s sleep you need to be especially on guard when it comes to your food intake that day. Maybe that fact should encourage you to plan your day, deciding in the morning the menu for the day, including extra fruit and small portions of nuts, edamame or yogurt on hand when cravings strike. You can outsmart cravings if you’re armed with a “budget of healthy snacks” and some willpower. And make sure that a sleepless night is a rare occurrence too!!