Sleep yourself slim

Sleepless night can cause junk food cravings

We all know getting a good night’s sleep is important. Your body repairs and renews itself while you sleep, so it’s key for good skin and staying healthy. But did you know that if you don’t sleep well you’re more likely to crave junk food?

Researchers at University College Berkeley found that just one sleepless night can lead us to eye up food like burgers and sweets. This isn’t the first time experts have found a link between sleep deprivation and bad diet choices but this study reveals why it happens.

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23 healthy young adults were hooked up to an MRI scan to study the brain after a normal night’s sleep and after a sleepless night. Both times the participants were shown pictures of healthy foods like apples and carrots as well as junk food like doughnuts and pizza. They were told they would receive the food they craved most after the scan.

When sleep-deprived they craved the unhealthy foods more. You see the scan found impairment in the area of the brain that governs decision-making and increased activity in the area that governs rewards.

Stephanie Greer, the study's lead author says, ‘The results shed light on how the brain becomes impaired by sleep deprivation, leading to the selection of more unhealthy foods, and, ultimately, higher rates of obesity.

‘The findings indicate that getting enough sleep is one factor that can help promote weight control by priming the brain mechanisms governing appropriate food choices.’

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