Sleep deprivation causes you to buy more food

New study explores role of lack of sleep in the night on the quantity of food bought the next morning.

Man buying food in a storeMen who were deprived of one night’s sleep bought more food from a mock supermarket the next day, a new study revealed.

“We hypothesized that sleep deprivation’s impact on hunger and decision making would make for the ‘perfect storm’ with regard to shopping and food purchasing—leaving individuals hungrier and less capable of employing self-control and higher-level decision-making processes to avoid making impulsive, calorie-driven purchases,” said first author Colin Chapman, MSc, of Uppsala University.

Chapman and his team had 14 participants sleep well one night and spend a sleepless night on another occasion  In both scenarios, the participants were asked to buy groceries on the next morning. The volunteers had a proper breakfast to rule out the effect of hunger pangs on their decisions. The men had to purchase as much as they could from a suggested list of 40 items that included 20 high-caloric s and 20 low-calorie foods.

Sleep-deprived men bought nine per cent more calories and 18 per cent more food [by weight] than they did after the night of good sleep.

“Our finding provides a strong rationale for suggesting that patients with concerns regarding caloric intake and weight gain maintain a healthy, normal sleep schedule,” said Chapman.

This study was published in Obesity, the official journal of The Obesity Society.

More research is required to check whether partial sleep deprivation would also cause such behaviour and to what extent. Also new research could try and explore if sleep deprivation also affects our buying decisions in other contexts, not just food.


Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri is a highly experienced wellbeing consultant. He is also a writer-editor and has written on topics ranging from strategic marketing and business management to art, culture and even philosophy. His more than 1250 published stories—articles, interviews, full-length features—have appeared in some of the leading newspapers and magazines of India. A certified cognitive behavioural therapist, he works as a personal counsellor too. He is the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed self-improvement book based on powerful ideas of some of the greatest thought leaders. Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".


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