Poor sleep can lead you to obesity. A new study says a bad night’s sleep may make people buy more unhealthy foods the next day, hence lead them add extra kilos.
During the study, researchers found that people who were deprived of one night’s sleep purchased more calories and grammes of food in a mock supermarket on the following day.
The findings of the study were even more glaring. Scientists found that sleep deprivation also led to increased blood levels of a hormone called ghrelin that is known for increasing hunger.
However, there was no correlation between individual ghrelin levels and food purchasing, suggesting that other mechanisms – such as impulsive decision making – may be more responsible for increased purchasing.
“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 first author Colin Chapman, of Uppsala University.
The scientists gave 14 normal-weight men a fixed budget (approximately USD 50). These men were given the budget on the morning after one night of total sleep deprivation, as well as after one night of sleep.
The men were instructed to purchase as much as they could out of a possible 40 items, including 20 high-caloric foods and 20 low-calorie foods. The prices of the high-caloric foods were then varied to determine if total sleep deprivation affects the flexibility of food purchasing.
Before the task, participants received a standardized breakfast to minimize the effect of hunger on their purchases.
The study was published in the journal Obesity.
Sleep-deprived men purchased significantly more calories and grammes of food than they did after one night of sleep. The researchers also measured blood levels of ghrelin. The found that the hormone’s concentrations were higher after total sleep deprivation. However, this increase did not correlate with food purchasing behaviour.
“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.