Skimp on Sleep, Spend on Junk Food

Lack of sleep overeating rotator

Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you a tired, groggy mess the next day. It could hit you in the gut and wallet as well, according to new research published in the journal Obesity. When study participants pulled all-nighters they purchased higher-calorie foods–and more of them–when they shopped in a mock supermarket the next day.

What explains their lousy food choices? For starters, sleep deprivation is known to decrease higher-level thinking and increase the rumbling in your stomach. “We 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,” said study author Colin Chapman in an Uppsala University news release.

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After a night of no sleep, 14 normal-weight men were given fixed budget—about $50—and were instructed to purchase as much food as they wanted from a selection of 40 items, which included 20 high-calorie foods and 20 low-calorie foods. The sleep-deprived men purchased significantly more calories (9%) and grams of food (18%) than they did after sleeping for seven hours.

To learn more about how sleep could be messing with all aspects of your life (plus tips on how to catch more Zs), read Sleep Better, Live Better.

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