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with Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM

This blog has now been retired. We appreciate all of the insights that Dr. Breus has provided to the WebMD community.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Sleep Deprivation Leads to Unhealthy Eating Habits

I was reading a recent article on NutritionHorizon.com, an online source for updates in health research, and came across a news piece about a study pointing to a link between sleep deprivation and poor eating habits.

I didn’t see that as “groundbreaking.” The last time I was tired, under-slept, and cranky, guess what – I didn’t feel like cooking a nutritious, homegrown meal. Grabbing a quick meal was more like what I had in mind. So when I read about a new study that points to a link between sleep deprivation and poor eating habits, it seems like an obvious conclusion that anecdotal evidence has always shown: when you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to avoid preparing your own meals at home and, God forbid, resort to fast food.

We’ve known for some time now that the amount of sleep we get affects our physical health, from our moods to our mental abilities and even our risk for things like depression, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Pretty much all of these health issues also share a relationship with the food we eat; it’s a big tangled web. Eat well, be well. Eat poorly, feel poorly. Sleep poorly, feel poorly. Sleep well, have lots of energy to act like a master chef in the kitchen!

Perhaps the takeaway here is to be more vigilant when we’re tired and do our best to make healthy choices at our next meal. This doesn’t mean we have to fight our exhaustion and force ourselves to cook (after all, that would put a damper on one’s mood, which is part of that “health” equation). There are lots of quick and nutritious options nowadays between restaurants and grocery stores. Who knows; you just might get a good night’s sleep after a wholesome meal.

Related Blog post: The Sleep Doctor’s List of Sleep-Friendly Foods

Related video on sleep deprivation:

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Posted by: Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM at 12:00 pm

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