Turns Out You Crave Snacks When Sleep Deprived


By Cooking Panda

You may have noticed a pattern in your snacking; you probably do it most when you haven’t had a lot of sleep. It turns out that now there’s actually science to back up your suspicions.

Science News reports that researchers at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting in March presented findings that suggest a link between sleep deprivation and an increased sensitivity of the brain’s reaction to food smells. This leads to people who don’t get enough sleep feeling more drawn to snacks.

In the study, adults who only got four hours of sleep rather than the recommended seven to nine hours inhaled both food-type smells and nonfood-type smells while under MRI scans. Food smells consisted of snacks like potato chips and cinnamon rolls, while fir trees were used as a nonfood smell.

This same experiment was held weeks later with the same participants after they’d gotten a full eight hours of sleep. The resulting statistics showed a spike in brain activity for the food smells when the participants were sleep deprived. Much more so than when they’d gotten enough sleep. There was no spike at all in brain reactions to nonfood smells.

Although there’s more research to be done, these results do go hand-in-hand with something we’ve suspected already. According to Zawya, another study, led by King’s College London, found that sleep-deprived people consumed more calories the next day than those who got enough sleep. The calorie equivalent to the average amount of extra calories consumed is comparable to about four and a half slices of bread. That’s a lot of calories if you’re doing it on a consistent basis!

Health risks associated with eating this many more calories per day include obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and more. It’s clearly not a sustainable or healthy lifestyle choice.

Dr. Irshaad Ebrahim, consultant and medical director of The London Sleep Centre, said of the U.K. study: “Sleep deprivation may cause overeating by altering certain hormones that play an important role in controlling appetite and satiety.”

“In a properly functioning brain, the two hormones are released on and off to regulate normal feelings of hunger. Sleep deprivation can, however, alter Ghrelin and Leptin levels. The effects of sleep loss on appetite seem to be most powerful in the late afternoon and early evening, times when snacking has been linked to weight gain.”

Although this subject continues to be studied, it’s probably safe to say that getting enough sleep matters a lot more than you probably thought. Time to take it more seriously!

Sources: Science News, Zawya / Photo Credit: Little Debbie/Instagram

Tags: Not Enough Sleep, sleep, sleep deprivation, Snack Foods, snacks, Sweets
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Coffee Might Not Actually Keep You Awake


By Cooking Panda

Looks like coffee can only keep us alert and happy for so long.

According to research presented at the SLEEP 2016 Conference, coffee leads to more harm than good if you are constantly sleep-deprived.

Study participants were instructed to sleep for 10 hours a night over a five-day period, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. After which, the 48 individuals were limited to sleeping a mere five hours a night.

Half of the group received 200 milligrams of caffeine twice daily, which is the amount in a cup of strong coffee, while the rest of the participants were given a placebo. Both groups were presented with various tests to measure their mood, cognitive abilities, and wakefulness.

Based on the results, the caffeine was only effective for the first two days of sleep deprivation. After that, it was no more effective than the placebo.

“We were particularly surprised that the performance advantage conferred by two daily 200 mg doses of caffeine was lost after three nights of sleep restriction,” said Dr. Tracy Jill Doty, lead author of the study and research scientist at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

“These results are important, because caffeine is a stimulant widely used to counteract performance decline following periods of restricted sleep,” Doty continued. “The data from this study [suggest] that the same effective daily dose of caffeine is not sufficient to prevent performance decline over multiple days of restricted sleep.”

Furthermore, the participants in the caffeine group also said their mood was greatly affected over the course of the study. In fact, it appears that it’s better not to consume caffeine regularly if happiness is important to you.

“Likewise caffeine effectively increased sleep latencies and improved ratings of happiness only for the first few days of sleep restriction,” Doty explained, as reported by The Telegraph. “In fact over the final days of SR those in the caffeine group rated themselves more annoyed than those in the placebo group.”

As coffee has been forever deemed as possessing energy-boosting powers, more research needs to be done to determine the long-term effects of this reported misconception.

Or maybe, just maybe, we could try to get more sleep. 

Sources: Munchies, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, The Telegraph / Photo credit: The Telegraph

Tags: caffeine, coffee, research, sleep deprivation
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