If you’ve had a sleepless night, think twice before hitting the buffet line, suggests the findings of a new study. According to the research, sleep-deprived people tend to eat greater portions of food. In the study published online in a medical journal last month, researchers from Uppsala
University in Sweden looked at the eating patterns of 16 normal-weight males under buffet-like conditions after they were forced to stay awake all night, and following a night of eight-hour rest.
Participants were asked to select their portion sizes of seven meals and six snack items in both states. “After a night of total sleep loss, sleep-deprived males chose greater portion sizes of the energy-dense foods,” says lead researcher Pleunie Hogenkamp. “Interestingly, they did so before and after breakfast, suggesting that sleep deprivation enhances food intake regardless of satiety.”
The Swedish study builds on a steady stream of research that shows a link between sleep-deprivation and obesity. Another study, published last year, also found that the sight of junk food following a sleepless night triggers the brain’s reward centres, making the foods seem more tempting.