Why do we crave junk food when tired?

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - ANI

When­ever we’re tired, in­stead of opt­ing for a health­ier op­tion such as a fruit, most of us pre­fer that favourite cho­co­late bar or packet of bis­cuits. Ever won­dered why?

Re­searchers at the Fein­berg School of Medicine, North­west­ern Univer­sity in Chicago, re­cently pre­sented their re­sults of a study look­ing into the ef­fects of sleep de­pri­va­tion on high­calorific food con­sump­tion.

Study par­tic­i­pants were al­lo­cated dif­fer­ent amounts of sleep — eight hours or four hours — and then their re­ac­tion to smells of high­calorific foods were tested.

Par­tic­i­pants slept for both lengths of time, sep­a­rated by a week of nor­mal sleep. On the day af­ter they ei­ther had full or par­tial sleep, they rated the pleas­ant­ness and in­ten­sity of sweet and savoury high­calorific food smells such as crisps and cin­na­mon rolls. They were then asked to rate non-foods smells, e.g. fir trees.

The re­searchers found that those who were sleep-de­prived had “specif­i­cally en­hanced” brain re­sponse to the food smells com­pared to when they had a good night’s sleep.

The ex­per­i­ment sup­ports the long-held as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween sleep de­pri­va­tion and ex­ces­sive eat­ing and weight gain. So, if you want to stop reach­ing for the cho­co­late ev­ery day, per­haps a few ex­tra hours sleep is all you need.


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