You already know a good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health. But if you are trying to lose weight and you are struggling specifically with sugar cravings, this is another good reason to up your sleep quantity. Results from a study done by King’s College London show getting a bit more sleep can be a solution for calming your sugar cravings.
The study saw only 42 adults participated in it, but this was enough to show interesting results. The volunteers were split into two groups and participants in one of the groups were trained in best practices for sleep. The researchers’ goal was to extend each volunteer’s nightly sleep by up to 1.5 hours. The second group received no such guidance, and both groups were asked to record their sleep and diet habits for a full week.
The results were quite dramatic. Persons who were able to successfully increase their sleep times consumed far less sugar the following day. In fact, the heavy sleepers ditched as much as 10 grams of sugar in the day after getting a good night’s rest. On top of that, they had less of a craving for carbohydrates than those who maintained their existing sleep schedules.
So how does poor sleep make you consume more sugar?
Well first when you’re short on sleep, it’s easy to lean on sugary foods or drinks to get moving during the day. But also important to note is the way that poor sleep affects your brain. According to webmd.com, skimping on sleep sets your brain up to make bad decisions.
“It dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the locus of decision-making and impulse control. So it’s a little like being drunk. You don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions.”
“Plus, when you’re overtired, your brain’s reward centers rev up, looking for something that feels good. So while you might be able to squash comfort food cravings when you’re well-rested, your sleep-deprived brain may have trouble saying no to the second slice of cake.”
The researchers of the King’s College London study believe that their findings demonstrate a clear link between poor sleep patterns and spikes in sugar and carbohydrate consumption, suggesting that increased sleep times help the body get into a healthy pattern that extends to diet.
“Our results also suggest that increasing time in bed for an hour or so longer may lead to healthier food choices,” Haya Al-Khatib, lead researcher of the study, says. “This further strengthens the link between short sleep and poorer quality diets that has already been observed by previous studies.”