Sleep deprivation increases food purchasing06 September 2013
Sleep-deprived customers buy higher-calorie food than wide awake customers. That’s according to new research published in the journal “Obesity”, which also found a link between sleep deprivation and a hormone that increases hunger.
Although the hormone ghrelin was found in higher levels in sleep-deprived subjects, the research found no correlation between ghrelin levels and purchasing food. Instead, research suggests other factors, like impulsive decision making, could be behind it.
First author Colin Chapman, MSc, from Uppsala University, said: “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.”
Fourteen men were tested twice, once without a night of sleep, by giving them around $50 to spend on food. In the morning they were all given a standard breakfast to limit the effects of hunger. In the mock supermarket, the men were instructed to purchase as much as they could out of forty different products, twenty of which were high in calories. The high-calorie foods were varied in price to determine if sleep deprivation proved a factor.
"Our finding provides a strong rationale for suggesting that patients with concerns regarding caloric intake and weight gain maintain a healthy, normal sleep schedule," said Chapman.