Mercer County, NJ—Everyone is aware of the benefits of getting a restful night’s sleep. Now, a new study suggests that sleepy teens are more prone to crave carbohydrates.Stated the study’s lead investigator, Mahmood Siddique, director of Sleep and Wellness Medical Associates at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, “This is one of the first studies in a high school population to show a linear relationship between carbohydrate craving and sleep deprivation.”

The trial included 262 high school seniors who self-reported carbohydrate cravings, and were evaluated for depression and self-reported sleepiness. Of note, 12% of the subjects had the highest level of carbohydrate cravings. Students who were excessively sleepy during the daytime had a 50% higher rate of carbohydrate cravings. With that, 34% of students who had an intense craving for carbohydrates experienced a greater rate of depression, as opposed to teens with little to no cravings.

Siddique believes that sleep or lack thereof plays a major part in the regulation of metabolism and appetite, too. Thus, inadequate amounts of sleep may cause the metabolic system to be shifted out of whack, which in turn may cause weight increases and can be a contributing factor to one’s dietary choices.

“This study highlights the importance of diagnosing sleep deprivation as a risk factor for obesity among young adults. Those who are depressed and sleep-deprived may be at special risk for obesity,” according to Siddique.

The findings were presented at SLEEP 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2011