Sleep deprivation associated with carbohydrate craving and depression

In a number of past blogs I’ve discussed the association with lack of sleep and overweight and obesity. This association is found in children, teens, and adults. Now we know another reason why this occurs. The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog reported that a lack of sleep could “affect our desire for carb-heavy foods,” according to two studies presented at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting.

In one study, researchers questioned 12 adults, ages 19 to 45, about daytime sleepiness. The study participants underwent “functional MRI tests while looking at pictures of high-calorie foods, low-calorie foods, as well as images of rocks and plants,” and the researchers discovered that those who had higher daytime sleepiness levels “showed less activity in their brain’s prefrontal cortex while looking at the photos of high-calorie foods.”

In another study of “262 high school seniors who answered surveys on sleepiness, carb cravings, and depression,” the researchers discovered that adolescents who had “extreme daytime sleepiness” also had a 50% higher likelihood of craving carbohydrate-heavy food.

HealthDay noted that the research team in the high-school senior study also found that students with “strong cravings for carbs were more likely to have depression (34 percent) than those with little or no desire for carbohydrates (22 percent).”

Notably, students with “major depression were nearly three times more likely to have a strong craving for carbohydrates.”

The bottom line is that a good night’s sleep may help prevent or treat overweight or obesity for you and your family.

For more information on how to treat or prevent obesity in your family, you may want to pick up a copy of my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. While supplies last, I have the softcover and hardcover on sale at my on-line book store.

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