Have you ever been tempted to cut back on sleep in order to cross one more item off your to-do list, cram for an exam, watch a film, read just one more chapter of your book or have one last check on social media sites or emails?
Chances are that at some point you’ve found yourself guilty of one (or more!) of the above. I know I certainly have. Today’s busy lifestyles means we’re cramming so much into our waking hours that often we have to creep into our designated wind down and sleep times.
But this isn’t really advisable. Sleep deprivation leads to many health problems and one of them is obesity. One of the many causes of obesity is the consumption of excess junk food.
There have been various studies over years looking into sleep deprivation and junk food but in a new study by UC Berkeley it analysed 23 healthy adults first after a good night’s sleep and then after a sleepless night.
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) the researchers found that after a sleepless night the brain tends to function improperly in the frontal lobe – which is responsible for making complex decisions – but activity increases in the deeper brain centres that respond to rewards. This change in brain activity resulted in people consuming more high-calorie food and explained why people who sleep less are often overweight or obese.
So next time you’re thinking of staying up that little bit later, think again – you might get fat!
If this is one of too many late nights then put the book/phone/iPad down and grab yourself a much deserved forty winks instead!