We have known about the importance of sleep for a long time, and new research tells us that there is yet another way that inadequate sleep affects our health: inadequate sleep could impact the food choices that we make.

So if you are a typical woman who sacrifices her own sleep juggling home and work and because there is simply too much to be done in a given day, you need to take note:

Inadequate sleep could mean unhealthy food choices

If you often find that you have unhealthy cravings for junk food, lack of sleep could be responsible. Studies presented as the SLEEP 2012 conference in Boston have suggested that when the brain is sleep deprived, it is more likely to reach for unhealthy food.

Lack of adequate sleep impacts the body, circadian rhythm as well as metabolic systems.

Research has found that sleep deprivation affects how the brain responds to reward; which in this case is junk food.

Lack of sleep can also interfere with the decision-making ability of the brain which could be another reason why we reach for the burger and fries when tired.

So if you’re sleepy, your brain will perceive unhealthy foods as more rewarding and will impact the food choices that you make at the time.

There is also another theory about why sleep deprivation could impact food choices. We may naturally reach for high calorie foods to help us make it through the day when we have had less sleep it is theorized.

Other impacts of sleep deprivation

It isn’t just what we eat that sleep deprivation can affect. There are other far-reaching consequences of inadequate sleep. It interferes with our ability to retain information and recall it; in other words, insufficient sleep could negatively impact the memory.

It is also a significant risk factor in depression, and statistics tell us that women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with major depression.

Lack of sleep is known to lower the body’s immunity and make one more prone to infection and disease and more likely to fall sick. Also a lack of sleep can make us more sensitive to pain.

The way that alcohol affects changes when we are sleepy (it affects us more). Also we are more likely to have an accident when we have had insufficient sleep. Eye hand coordination gets affected by lack of sleep as well.