Health Tip – Oct. 28 – How Lack of Sleep Can Ruin Your Diet

Filed under: Dee Dee |

Did you ever wonder why you tend to overeat after a restless night? It’s almost as if lack of sleep throws a switch in your brain, letting loose cravings for donuts, pizza and burgers. That’s pretty much what actually happens, according to results of a study from the University of California, Berkeley.

Researchers there recruited 23 healthy young adults to see what their responses to food would be after a good night’s sleep and a sleepless night. The investigators used functional MRIs (fMRI) to look at what was going on in the brains of their young subjects. After sleeping well, the study participants tended to choose fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. But after that sleepless night, they went for the donuts, pizza and burgers.

The researchers found when we’re sleep-deprived, activity is impaired in the brain’s frontal lobe, which controls complex decision-making. They also saw increased activity in the parts of the brain that respond to rewards, leading to the choice of those less-healthy foods. The investigators suggested that these changes in brain activity may help explain why people who sleep less also tend to be overweight or obese.

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