Research suggests that even one night of sleep deprivation can cause you to experience a greater hunger for food the following day. This in return leaves you subject to impulsive food purchasing, according to a study published in the journal Obesity, the official journal of The Obesity Society.
The study also concluded that a severe lack of sleep can also lead to increased blood levels of ghrelin, the hormone that triggers hunger. Although there was no correlation found between individual ghrelin levels and food purchasing, it was stated that other mechanisms such as impulsive decision making could be the responsible party for the increase in purchasing food.
Decision Making and Sleep Deprivation
Author, Colin Chapman, MSc, of Uppsala University stated “We hypothesized that sleep deprivation 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.”
The study further explained that on the morning after a night of complete total sleep deprivation, and also the morning after a night of complete sleep, fourteen normal-weight men were given a fixed budget of about $50-dollars and were then instructed to purchase as much as they could with the possible 40 items available to them.
The forty possible food choices were ranked by 20 high-calorie foods as well as 20 low-calorie foods and the prices for the high-calorie food were then varied in order to determine if a lack of sleep would affect the flexibility of food purchasing.
Each individual was also given a moderate breakfast to minimize any effects that hunger would play on their purchasing decisions.
The results proved that men who were sleep-deprived purchased a greater amount of food in general as well as an increase in those foods higher in calories.
Ghrelin was also measured and showed a significant increase of the hormone among those men that were sleep deprived, but the increase was not in correlation with the food purchasing behavior. Chapman stated “Our finding provides a strong rationale for suggesting that patients with concerns regarding caloric intake and weight gain maintain a healthy, normal sleep schedule.”
The Study Continues…
There will be follow-up studies conducted to address whether the sleep deprivation-induced changes in food purchasing behavior are also existent under partial sleep deprivation conditions.
Find a bed that makes you feel good,