Sleepy Brains Crave Junk Food
By: Maham Abedi, Staff Writer
Let’s face it-we’ve given into dreams of sugar-filled donuts and salty potato chips. Staying away from devilish junk food is never easy.
But what makes some days harder than others when it comes to controlling our diets? The answer may be as simple as being sleep deprived suggests a study conducted by New York’s Columbia University and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
… maintaining an alert and wakeful state is crucial to making conscious, healthy choices in the kitchen.
In the study, 25 men and women of regular weight were asked to look at pictures of healthy and unhealthy food after sleeping for either nine hours or four hours for five days. Scan results of their brains showed that when looking at images of junk food on four hours of sleep, the reward centres of their brains were activated.
The study’s principal investigator Marie-Pierre St-Onge suggests that sleep deprived brains are more likely to succumb to cravings for unhealthy food because it feels more rewarding.
Toronto-based nutritionist Janet Zdichavsky explains that when we are tired, levels of leptin, a hormone which reduces hunger are significantly lower. While levels of another hormone called ghrenlin rise, stimulating our appetite.
Zdichavsky also suggests that maintaining an alert and wakeful state is crucial to making conscious, healthy choices in the kitchen.
“Identify stressful situations and try to improve them. Switch off work in your leisure time and try some relaxing techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, taking a warm bath, or participate in regular, moderate exercise to reduce stress,” says Zdichavsky.
The key to overcoming fatigue caused by sleep deprivation is to have a full, balanced breakfast that helps refuel energy stores. Having a healthy breakfast before a hectic day is proven to increase alertness, physical energy, concentration and mood and will lead to healthier choices for the rest of the day.
Zdichavsky recommends eating foods such as bananas, dates, figs, whole grain crackers and yogurt which are high in tryptophan, an amino acid which is considered to be a sleep aid. Eating foods high in calcium and magnesium, such as grapefruit can also help with insomnia.
This lifestyle change can be difficult, Zdichavsky says, “If you fall off the wagon, dust your self off and get back on.”
Business News with BITE.
Liked this post? Why not buy the ARB team a beer? Just click an ad or donate below (thank you!)
Liked this article? Hated it? Comment below and share your opinions with other ARB readers!