Junk food cravings get worse if you don’t get enough sleep


Pulling an all-nighter might help when it comes to cramming for a high school chemistry test, but it can also make you reach for a Big Mac the next morning. When people don’t get enough sleep, they are more likely to eat junk food, say researchers.

A new study from the University of California, Berkeley found that people who did not get enough sleep had impaired decision-making skills and the reward center of their brain was heightened. So people who didn’t get a good night’s sleep were more likely to reach for an unhealthy snack than someone who was well rested.

“High-calorie foods also became significantly more desirable when participants were sleep-deprived,” said Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and an author of the study said in a prepared statement. “This combination of altered brain activity and decision-making may help explain why people who sleep less also tend to be overweight or obese.”

This news is particularly troubling for obese children and teens who often suffer from obstructive sleep apnea which impairs quality of sleep and is associated with snoring and frequent body movements at night. Obesity can make it more difficult for a child to get enough good quality sleep. Without enough sleep, it’s more difficult to manage your appetite.

At Live Light Live Right, we do a complete sleep assessment and sleep studies on our patients to improve sleep quality and quantity. This helps with the food cravings and helps curb increased weight gain.