HEALTHY LIVING
09/06/2013 11:46 am ET

Sleep Deprivation Linked With Buying More High-Calorie Foods While Grocery Shopping

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You know the advice not to go to the grocery story when you're hungry? According to a new study, perhaps you shouldn't go to the grocery store sleepy, either.

Research published in the journal Obesity shows that just one night of being sleep deprived could prompt a person to buy more food, in quantity and calorie count, at a grocery store the next day.

"We hypothesized that sleep deprivation's impact on hunger and decision-making would make for the 'perfect storm' with regard to shopping and food purchasing -- leaving individuals hungrier and less capable of employing self-control and higher-level decision-making processes to avoid making impulsive, calorie-driven purchases," study researcher Colin Chapman, M.Sc., of Uppsala University, said in a statement.

The study included 14 normal-weight men who were given about $50 to buy food after a night of normal sleep and then after a night of complete sleep deprivation. The men were given 20 high-calorie and 20 low-calorie food options. All the study participants were fed breakfast before going shopping so that hunger wouldn't be a factor in the experiment.

Researchers found that the men purchased 9 percent more calories and 18 percent more grams of food after the night of sleep deprivation, as compared to after the night of restful sleep.

Previous research has demonstrated links between sleep deprivation and food intake. One study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, showed that sleep deprivation not only makes people want junk food more than healthy food, but it also altered brain activity by impairing the decision-making region of the brain and increasing activity in a reward-linked region.

And a study from University of Colorado at Boulder researchers found that sleeping less than five hours a night for a week is linked with eating more calories from snacks after dinner. A similar study from University of Pennsylvania researchers showed that getting insufficient sleep at night (four to five hours) is linked with consuming more calories in the form of late-night snacks.

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