Tired brains make us eat garbage
A new study that used brain scans of people who had not had enough sleep suggests junk food may be more appealing to tired brains.
Scientists found that when normal weight volunteers looked at unhealthy food during a period of sleep restriction, the reward centers in their brains were more active than when they looked at the pictures after having slept regularly.
The researchers, from St Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University in New York, were using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to better understand the link between sleep restriction and obesity.
They compared brain scans of 25 male and female volunteers when they were shown images of healthy and unhealthy foods after five nights of sleep restriction (no more than four hours of sleep a night) and regular sleep (up to 9 hours a night).
The unhealthy foods included nutrient poor foods such as candy and pepperoni pizza, and the healthy foods included nutrient rich foods such as oatmeal, fruits and vegetables.
Do you find junk food more appealing when you’re tired or is there another trigger that gets you to eat unhealthy, nutrient poor, foods?