If you have ever attempted to lose weight you will know how difficult it is to stop junk food cravings.
Unfortunately if you are unable to control these cravings you are never going to reach your weight loss goals. Luckily, there is an easy fix that can help.
What causes these junk food cravings?
Being tired has various detrimental effects on your health, including weight gain. This is because being tired can leave you reaching for the junk food rather than a healthy home cooked meal.
According to new research at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s meeting in San Francisco, a lack of sleep can lead to these cravings.
The study was conducted by a team at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and it has revealed that “sleep deprivation actually increases the brain’s sensitivity to food smell”.
This study discovered that those participants in the study who slept only four hours showed greater brain activity in response to smells.
These food smells included crisps and doughnuts, however if the participants slept a full 8 hours this sensitivity was reduced.
Is there any other proof?
Another study undertaken at the St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University in New York also found similar findings.
Their study looked at the brain activity of 25 people with an average weight over the course of 5 nights of sleep deprivation where they were only allowed 4 hours of sleep per night.
They then compared their findings by looking at the brain activity of the participants when allowed normal sleep over 5 nights.
The researchers found that when the participants were deprived of sleep the pleasure-seeking parts of the participants brain had more activity when shown pictures of unhealthy foods.
When they were shown pictures of healthy and unhealthy foods after a good nights sleep the pleasure centres of the brain reacted similarly.
This research shows how important a good nights sleep is for weight loss, and proves that if you struggle to control your own junk food cravings that a lack of sleep could be to blame.
I would recommend aiming for at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and to ensure your sleep is not disrupted, so avoid bringing your mobile phone or any other distractions into your bedroom.
Trying to relax just before bed is also a good idea if you want to experience a good nights sleep.