Too little sleep may lead you to buy too much food


Are tired people more likely to buy more food? This Swedish study claims that this is true. The study began by selecting 14 healthy men to participate in the project. These men spent one night in complete sleep deprivation. In the morning they were taken to the grocery store with a limited budget and asked to buy half junk food and half healthy food with as much of the budget as they could.

The next night the same men got a normal amount of sleep and were asked to complete the shopping task again. The results indicated that the sleep deprived men were more likely to buy foods were more calories and to buy a larger quantity of food overall. Learn more about this study here.

However this experiment held certain fundamental flaws. To start with, a sample population of 14 people cannot account for the entire population of humans. Additionally, the experiment focuses on men that are approximately 23 years old. Therefore, this study excludes women and men of any other age. There are also many outside factors that could explain why these men made their purchases in the way that they did.

Although there are issues with the experiment, the idea behind it is still compelling. It would be logical to say that being tired reduces one's concentration, self-control, and decision-making. A sleepy person could be less likely to consider the food choices that they are making. In terms of lifestyle choices, perhaps someone who receives an adequate amount of sleep is more likely to buy healthy food and take care of themselves because they feel healthy and good. Whereas someone who did not sleep in 24 hours may just want a snickers bar and feel too tired to care about their health. However, it is impossible to say whether the conclusions of the study are based in reality or are only applicable in this particular instance.

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Dear Lauren,
I saw your post and instantly got hungry. It's 1 in the morning. There is a reason for this - all I do is work. Like every college student, of course I have classes, but I also work two jobs and am heavily involved on campus. I don't nearly sleep enough and I am hungry 24/7. I think the Swedish study, despite its flaws you also pointed out, definitely has some validity. From my personal viewpoint, I feel that tired people are more likely to buy food because of the temporary energy high they can get from it when they are for example, catching up on science homework, and feel the exhaustion creeping into their system. For example, according to LiveStrong, sugary foods immediately get digested and absorbed into your bloodstream, despite the multiple health risks including obesity that are present every time large amounts of sugar are consumed. These sugar highs we get may help us get more work done with less sleep, and definitely harm us in the end. So, yes, I would totally agree with the hypothesis that tired people consume more food. After all, what's better than making mac and cheese at 2 in the morning?

This is funny cause my mom always says, "skinny people go to sleep early". Which I so get since it is 1am and I think I have snacked on our entire apartment. Seems like people also agree with my moms motto:


Even though you pointed the faults with this experiment.. I believe that there are some truths to be said about sleep and hunger. I believe that the more you are awake, the more time it is to possibly snack or overeat on anything. Also, when you are up late at night, you aren't walking around and burning the calories that you do when you are up and about during the day. Additionally, there is a myth that is always circulating that your metabolism slows down after 8 p.m. This is totally false. It doesn't matter what time you eat but if you eat all day and also eat late at night while studying and ect. you're consuming more calories indeed. This article specifically calls out the myth and exploits the truths about eating and how it is more about portion control then time of day.

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