AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) – Craving donuts after a restless night can now be blamed on your nose, that’s according to new research out of Northwestern University. What happens is that, when your sleep deprived, your nose kicks into hyperdrive, sharpening your brain’s ability to detect food.
At the same time, your brain’s ability to understand the signals your nose is sending breaks down. Without enough information, your brain then overcompensates and makes you crave high energy food, basically food with a lot of calories. Because your brain is failing to keep track of all the smells it’s detecting, it drives you to things like chips and cookies.
Researchers observed 29 men’s and women’s eating habits after both a good night’s sleep and a bad night’s sleep. On the morning they were deprived of sleep, they ate more junk food. The subjects were placed in an MRI before they were allowed to eat, noticing increased activity in the part of the brain in charge of smell. Blood tests were also performed.
You can read more about how the research was done here.