It's not exactly shocking to hear that we tend to make less health conscious food choices when we're overtired.
A 2013 study showed that when we don't get adequate sleep, we're less able to resist cravings for fatty foods. (We feel it's safe to assume that you're nodding in agreement with this finding.)
I have a bad, bad habit of overeating when I'm tired, thus the hiding in the bedroom.
— Christine (@LadyChrisA)
But a team of scientists at last week's Cognitive Neuroscience Society's annual meeting presented research that provides a new theory as to why we overeat when we're tired. They say a lack of sleep can heighten our sense of smell—specifically, in relation to food.
Scientists conducted studies in which groups of people were asked to inhale food odors on four hours of sleep and then eight hours of sleep. The results showed that when participants were tired, their brain activity relating to their sense of smell was higher than it was when they were rested.
I have a horrible habit of overeating when I am: happy, sad, tired, awake, stressed, bored, entertained, or breathing in general....
— kaitlinboyer (@kaitlinboyer)
Given the fact that sense of smell plays a significant role in food consumption, it makes sense that when heightened, we would opt for the more potent, unhealthy options.
Because researchers at Spring.St have already found that cookies smell better than broccoli any day.
H/t: New York Magazine