A new study came out this week that said if you’re tired you are more likely to crave junk food than when you’re well rested. The researchers, from St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University in New York, found that tired brains associate junk food with reward and pleasure, making sleep-deprived people more likely to grab a burger or slice of pizza.
The research has made a splash across many news organizations, including Time magazine, but is it really all that newsworthy? Sure, it’s a catchy headline, but is anyone surprised by what this study found? Did we really need research to tell us that when we’re tired, we want to eat junk food?
Isn’t food-as-pleasure one of the main psychological issues behind obesity? When we’re tired, or stressed out or upset, we crave that food that is going to provide the comfort we’re currently missing.
Take the staff at FSD for example. During our deadline week, we routinely purchase candy to eat during those high-stress times. It’s a known fact in the office that either myself or my co-worker Lindsey Ramsey will have some kind of candy to help take the edge of those days when our brains are overloading—and often tired.
Now, thanks to this research I can justify my junk-food cravings and feel a little less guilty about that chocolate I eat during deadline. And just in case you were wondering, M&Ms and Starbursts are our candies of choice if you feel so inclined to send us some of the goodies our brains crave while we feverishly put together the magazine for you.