For people with more to do and ever less time to do it in, poor sleep habits and a bad diet are almost an inevitability. Now, a new study has shown that those poor sleep habits might actually be driving people to eat higher-calorie foods.
The study, published in the journal Obesity, showed that people who missed one night of sleep bought more calories the following day than those who got a good night’s sleep. The Swedish researchers behind the study believe that the sleep deprivation could increase hunger while impairing the judgement skills needed to avoid poor food purchasing habits.
“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 Colin Chapman, lead author of the study.
Chapman and his colleagues rounded up 14 “normal-weight” men and gave them a fixed budget with which to buy groceries in a mock grocery store. Half of the foods in the store were high-calorie foods, and the other half were low-calorie. When the men had gone an entire night without sleep, they bought 9% more calories than they did after getting a full night’s sleep.
“Our finding provides a strong rationale for suggesting that patients with concerns regarding caloric intake and weight gain maintain a healthy, normal sleep schedule,” said Chapman.