Sometimes when I’m tired and grumpy it feels like the solution to all my problems could be found in a bowl of ice cream. I know I’m not alone in this because I’ve noticed that movies and TV often show female characters heading for the Haagendaz when they’re upset.
I’ve also learned that despite those crossed wires in my brain* that say tired = eat sugar, dessert is rarely the solution, and only creates other problems for me. So I try to do something else and it usually works. On this occasion I spent the evening sketching some scruffy little roses from my garden. By the time I finished, the nearby ice cream shop had closed and I was ready to go to bed.
*Sleep Deprivation and Carbohydrate Craving
In a Harvard Magazine report on sleep research they explain how and why being sleep deprived creates a physiological craving for sugar. In one study, healthy, male college students who were subjected to sleep interruptions over a couple of weeks became carb-loading sugar fiends and even developed pre-diabetes. In the article the Harvard researchers say:”It could be that a good chunk of our epidemic of obesity is actually an epidemic of sleep deprivation.”
They say that most of us now sleep less than people did a century ago, or even 50 years ago although our biological need for 8 hours of sleep a night hasn’t changed. “We are living in the middle of history’s greatest experiment in sleep deprivation and we are all a part of that experiment,” says Stickgold. “It’s not inconceivable to me that we will discover that there are major social, economic, and health consequences to that experiment. Sleep deprivation doesn’t have any good side effects.”