Healthy Monday: How Sleep Deprivation Negatively Affects Healthy Eating Habits! Blog

Healthy Monday: How Sleep Deprivation Negatively Affects Healthy Eating Habits!

“Healthy Monday is our way of kicking off the week with useful health tips, information or news put together by our team of Health Consultants.”

The power that lies in having a solid 7-9 hours of night sleep cannot be over-emphasized! Getting an adequate amount of night rest makes us mentally alert, rejuvenates/revamps the body, & reduces the effects of a stressful life, just to mention a few.


However, most of us live an extremely busy life and we tend to cut short our sleep time quite frequently. Once we do away with a healthy sleep routine, the rest of the body seems to negatively react as confounded in various studies. Research has shown that there is a correlation between the amount of sleep and productivity. Also, too little sleep has been found to lead to a decreased strength of the immune system, increased risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. But, not only that, it also affects our eating habits in quite an unhealthy way!

Some of the ways sleep deprivation may negatively affect your health include:

1. Increased Propensity or Desire to Eat More: The results of a study conducted by the famous Mayo Clinic in 2012 compared the eating habits of people who had a healthy dose of sleep to those who only logged two-thirds of their required rest time for 8 days, and showed that those who were sleep-deprived ended up eating an average of 549 extra calories each day (which could led to an increased gain of one pound per week if the habit continued). Some other researchers have attributed this overeating response to the body’s simultaneous reduction of leptin, a hormone that signals feelings of fullness, and overproduction of ghrelin, a hormone that signals the feelings of hunger during periods when the body experiences sleep deprivation.

2. Craving Unhealthy Food Choices including Fatty Foods & Extra Carbs: A 2013 study found that not only do we crave unhealthy, high-fat and high-carbohydrate foods when we’re worn out and tired, but we also fail to mentally register the consequences of such food choices over time. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania also found that just one night of poor sleep can lead to increased cravings for fatty food choices the following day.

3. Increased Late Night Snacking: Let’s be honest with ourselves, how many people crave vegetables or other healthy snacks for a late night meal? Very few indeed! Sleep deprivation has the potential of leading to decreased physical activity and an increase in excessive unhealthy snacking behavior, which according to a 2008 study typically leads to additional, unwanted weight gain.

4. Eating Pattern Changes for the Worse: Sleep deprivation changes and disrupts your internal clock cycle that guides your natural sleep patterns which also determines the times during the day you feel hungry including how hungry you feel. A 2011 study found that people who are considered “late sleepers” tend to experience a delay in their meals throughout the day and were observed to eat dinner after 8 p.m. while consuming more calories than average at that meal. And unfortunately, those late-eating habits prevent the body from drifting off to sleep as early as it should the next night, thereby worsening the sleep deprivation cycles and fostering poor eating habits.

If you are one of those that neglect getting a healthy dose of sleep in favor of other things, you may want to reconsider your priorities, as sleep deprivation has far more negative consequences than you can imagine!

Have a healthy week!

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Theresa Jordan

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