When you’re tired, do you feel like your appetite also changes? Most people find that whenever they’re short on sleep, they tend to crave junk foods and sweets. Are you one of them? Turns out, this isn’t all in your head but it is in your brain too!

In the past decades, obesity rates have skyrocketed and rates of sleep deprivation have also risen dramatically. Almost a third of working adults are sleeping no more than six hours a night. When we look at the bigger pictures, we all sleep significantly less and we weigh a great deal more.

Through studies, scientists have discerned a connection between weight gain and the lack of sleep. When sleeping too little becomes routine, it’s likely that people would put on more weight.

You see, lack of sleep causes increased calorie consumption and reduced energy levels. Simply put, more calories come in, and fewer calories go out. In addition, sleep deprivation can disrupt hormones in the body which are responsible for regulating the appetite.

The researchers at the University of California Berkeley examined how sleep affects brain functions which are related to food choices and desire. The results of the study show that sleep deprivation led to important changes to how the brain works, particularly in the two areas which govern eating. As a result, lack of sleep leads to a greater desire for unhealthy foods. At the same time, sleep-deprived brains have a diminished capacity to make rational decisions which overrides the impulse to eat poorly.

Other research findings include the following:

·         The desire for junk food increases along with the severity of their sleep deprivation. The longer people lack sleep, the more they crave junk foods.

·         MRI scans revealed the brain responds more strongly to images of high-calorie foods.

Because sleep is such a vital tool in weight loss and management, it’s only practical that a person who wants to make healthy adjustments to his or her lifestyle should never take the hours he spend asleep for granted.

There are many ways to improve one’s quality of sleep and as a matter of fact, there are different types of food to help you sleep better. Find out more about the benefits of sleep and how to achieve better quality sleep by getting in touch with Rebecca Ginder, one of South Florida’s top sleep therapists. Click here to schedule an appointment and take the first step to a better and healthier you.