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HHS HealthBeat (September 3, 2013)

Less sleep, worse eating

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Burgers, doughnuts, pizza. Stay up real late working or studying, and your body seems to crave them. Carrots and apples, not so much. Why is that?

At the University of California, Berkeley, Matthew Walker measured people’s food choices and imaged their brain activity after a night’s sleep and after a night with no sleep. He found people preferred junk food after the sleepless night, and their sleep-deprived brains showed less capacity to make good-for-you choices and more I-wanna choices.

“There’s a shift in the behavioral choices that people are making, and that seems to be co-occurring with those changes in brain activity.”

So if you get enough sleep, you may choose better and eat more healthfully.

The study in the journal Nature Communications was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

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Last revised: September 3, 2013