Okay! Rapid fire: Let’s imagine that you’re exhausted after work or whatever and now you just want to melt into your couch and flip idly through everything on networked television. Which of these would you choose as an accompanying snack? A) Nachos and gummi bears. Or. B) an assortment of cucumber slices and carrot sticks. If you’ve picked option A, congratulations, you’re human and pretty much like most of us when it comes to eating habits. If you’ve picked B, stop reading this and go back to doing your 500th push-up set because clearly, you don’t make terrible eating choices.
But like most things, there’s a reasonable scientific explanation for this. Science News reports that researchers at Fienberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago recently presented their results of a study at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting held in San Francisco. The results indicate a correlation between sleep deprivation and the consumption of foods with a high calorific value.
Each of the participants was asked to adhere to alternating sleep patterns; one where eight hours of sleep was allowed and the other where the duration was limited to only four hours. The participants were asked to follow these sleep patterns interspersed by a week of regular sleep. They were then tested to react to certain smells of high calorific foods, such as chips and sweets, and non-foods such as fir trees. They were then asked to rate the pleasantness or unpleasantness of each of these.
It was concluded that the participants who were sleep-deprived, exhibited a relatively stronger affinity for high calorific foods, than the participants who went with a good night’s sleep. The sleep-deprived participants showed enhanced brain activity upon being stimulated with the various smells of food.
The experiment provides us with conclusive proof that sleep deprivation and consumption of high-calorific, and often mal-nourishing food go hand in hand. Thus, the age-old belief that sleep deprivation causes weight gain turns out to be wholly accurate.