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food craving
magnetic resonance imaging mri
university of california berkeley
magnetic resonance imaging
brain reward
twenty four hours
Junk Food Craving May Be Greater When You Are Sleepy
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Junk Food Craving May Be Greater When You Are Sleepy

A study conducted by Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a research associate at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, revealed that people who are sleepy make bad food choices - for example chips and sweets are more appealing to people who are sleep deprived.

St-Onge's study included twenty five normal-weight people who underwent magnetic resonance imaging and shown pictures of healthy, unhealthy and nonfood items after 5 nights of restricted sleep (4 hours a night) and then again after 5 nights of being allowed to sleep for 9 hours

The Study examined the active brain areas when people viewed unhealthy foods, they found the brain reward areas where more activated when people who were sleep deprived viewed pictures of chips and sweets

St-Onge believed it is related to cognitive control - for example your guard is somewhat down when you are tired and sleepy - you know you shouldn't eat junk food, but when you're sleepy and you probably just decide to go for it..

Samantha Heller a Registered dietician and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn. said she was not surprised by the studies' findings – when you are sleepy or fatigued your body craves calorie rich foods for quick energy. Heller further said it makes a sense if you think of evolutionary progression that eating calorie rich foods provides a momentary lift of energy. She also said that people will often turn to processed foods rather than a piece of fruit and that the quick energy boost from processed food will not last long – try and eat to make up deprived sleep will not work. Heller also said keeping healthy foods around, in both your home and workplace would be a healthier and better choice

Ironically a second study from University of California, Berkeley did not find a large difference in the active brain reward areas in people who were tired. Sixteen healthy adults magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results were reviewed after a full night’s sleep and again after twenty four hours of sleep deprivation, they were asked to rate their desire for eighty different types of food after each test.

The clear message from Marie-Pierre St-Onge is that it's important to get enough sleep. She suggested between 7 and 8 hours nightly. "This is especially important if you're dieting," Onge said, because if you don't get enough sleep you may choose the wrong foods.

My Take Away

The Marie-Pierre St-Onge study does suggest that getting enough sleep might help you stop craving food and help you make better food choices


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