Excessive eating may be due to a bad night’s sleep, a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology has proposed.
The study evaluated how disrupted sleep and excess food intake are correlated, placing both adults and children at risk for long-term health conditions (eg, obesity, diabetes). Study authors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reported that after a bad night’s sleep, the appetite-controlling hormone is impacted, emotional stress is higher, and more food is desired to compensate for the lack of energy and increased impulsivity, which ultimately affects the amount of food consumed in a day. Biological, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral mechanisms were all found to play a role in the relationship. Some studies showed that after limited sleep, neural activation in the orbitofrontal cortex was higher in response to food images vs. non-food images. Also, people with disrupted sleep patterns had higher response levels to the rewarding values of food.