So you want to make better food choices? Believe it or not, there’s one thing that could be causing you to bulk up without intending to – sleep deprivation.
With 35 percent of Americans not getting enough sleep every night, it’s no surprise that uncontrolled weight gain and a struggle to lose weight is an issue for so many of us. Let’s look at the science.
A study published in a journal titled SLEEP found that people operating on low amounts of sleep made food choices similar to those high on marijuana.
Fight Food Cravings
That’s right — you get the munchies when you don’t have enough sleep. You get a bad case of the munchies.
The things that deprive you of a good night’s sleep, from sleeping on the wrong kind of mattress to a stressful day, or from your pets jumping on you in the middle of the night, trigger the same receptors in your brain that would be triggered if you had smoked a joint.
What do you want to eat when you have the munchies from either source? Carbs and fats, and more of them than your body actually needs.
Even though your body isn’t actually needing the nutrients, it really wants that bag of potato chips, and it can be hard to convince it that it doesn’t want them.
It also leads to poor purchasing habits, which is a problem for both your physical and fiscal health.
Be Smart when Grocery Shopping
When you go shopping while sleep deprived, you tend to buy more, and you buy foods that are worse for you, according to a 2013 study in Obesity Society.
This study had 14 Swedish men of average weight go grocery shopping – half of them after a full night’s sleep, and half of them after a sleepless night. They were given the Swedish equivalent of $50 and told to purchase as much as they could of the 40 items in front of them.
“Independent of both type of food offered and price condition, sleep-deprived men purchased significantly more calories and grams of food than they did after one night of sleep,” the results read.
Chances are, you are doing the same thing.
Not to mention, eating a lot of fatty food before bed can actually keep you up at night — perpetuating the cycle some more.
At the end of the day, you should be doing your best to get a full night’s sleep every night, for your health. Based on this study, you should especially be trying to get a good night’s sleep before heading to the grocery store.
If you have to go grocery shopping while tired try making a list ahead of time. Don’t allow yourself to deviate to buy those extra snacks. It can help break the cycle of sleep deprivation, which leads to poor food choices. Later, you satisfy that craving with the foods you bought while you were shopping. A good night’s sleep may even help you lose some unwanted weight.