The Vicious Cycle Of Sleep Deprivation And Overeating
Losing sleep at night affects our behavior the next day in lots of ways, not the least of which is what we eat. Anyone who’s crammed a donut into their mouth to help them wake up after a rough night can attest to this phenomenon, but now we have a study to prove it. A new meta-analysis finds that partial sleep deprivation—missing a few hours of sleep per night—is linked to taking in significantly more calories the next day. And the bigger issue might be that the connection also seems to work the other way: Poor food choices during the day may affect how well we sleep. So it’s a bit of a vicious cycle we’re up against, and it seems to mainly be happening in the brain. The new study, in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked back at 11 smaller studies, which together included 172 people. The participants were all deprived of sleep to varying degrees for relatively short periods of time (one day to two weeks), and their calorie intake the next day was measured. It’s important to point out that these were all short-term studies, so we don’t know how the results might change over the long term.
People who were sleep-deprived consumed, on average, about 385 calo-