Sleep Deprivation linked to High-calorie food choices

Sleep Deprivation linked to High-calorie food choices

5/1/20242 min read

woman leaning on top building rail during daytime
woman leaning on top building rail during daytime

There is more science supporting that getting a good night’s is best for your health.

A new study published in the journal Obesity found people who were deprived of one night’s sleep purchased more calories and grams of food in a mock supermarket on the following day.

Sleep deprivation also led to increased blood levels of ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger, on the following morning; however, there was no correlation between individual ghrelin levels and food purchasing, suggesting that other mechanisms such as impulsive decision making may be more responsible for increased purchasing.

Researchers at Uppsala University investigated whether sleep deprivation may impair or alter an individual’s food purchasing choices based on its established tendency to impair higher-level thinking and to increase hunger.

They hypothesized that sleep deprivation’s impact on hunger and decision making would make for the ‘perfect storm’ with regard to shopping and food purchasing-leaving individuals hungrier and less capable of employing self-control and higher-level decision making processes to avoid making impulsive, calorie-driven purchases.

On the morning after one night of total sleep deprivation, as well as after one night of sleep, the researchers give 14 normal-weight men a fixed budget (approximately $50). The men were instructed to purchase as much as they could out of a possible 40 items, including 20 high-caloric foods and 20 low-caloric foods. The prices of the high-caloric foods were then varied to determine if total sleep deprivation affects the flexibility of food purchasing. Before the task, participants received a standardized breakfast to minimise the effect of Hunger on their purchases.

Sleep-deprived men purchased significantly more calories (+9%) and grams (+18%) of food than they did after one night of sleep. The researchers also measured blood levels of ghrelin, finding that the hormone’s concentration were higher after total sleep deprivation; however, this increase did not correlate with food purchasing behaviour.

Their finding provides a strong rationale for suggesting that patients with concerns regarding caloric intake and weight gain maintain a healthy, normal sleep schedule.

This study supports a link between sleep loss and Obesity. Findings from a study published in the journal Nature Communications that found losing sleep can make you more likely to crave junk foods rather than healthy foods. Other studies have linked poor sleeping habits to increased appetites.

Results from the study show that sleep deprivation significantly decreased activity in appetitive evaluation regions within the brain during food desirability choices, combined with increased activity of the amygdala. This change in brain activity is further associated with an increase in the desire for weight gain promoting high-calorie foods following sleep deprivation.