Sleep less, eat more donuts

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Sleep less, eat more donuts

June 13, 2012 - Jim Denison, PhD

Krispy Kreme donuts with chocolate icing taken during a scavenger hunt in Atlanta (Credit: Valerie Renee via Flickr)

I’m tempted to eat some donuts for breakfast today.  I’m also a little sleep-deprived.  Now we know how the two conditions are related.

Two new studies demonstrate that a lack of sleep makes us less resistant to foods we shouldn’t eat.  In one, 25 participants of normal weight spent five nights in a lab, alternating between nine hours of sleep, and four hours.  When allowed to choose their own food, they ate 300 more calories per day, on average, after four hours’ sleep.

In the other study, people who stayed awake for 24 hours were more interested in unhealthy foods.  In addition, scans showed them to be impaired in brain regions associated with complex decision-making.  These reports made news shortly after Wednesday’s Cultural Commentary linking sleep deprivation to strokes and a variety of other physical problems.

This issue is relevant for me today on two levels.  One: our youngest son is getting married this Friday.  If I eat as many donuts this week as my sleep-deprived brain would like, his wedding photos will forever memorialize my dietary lapses.

Two: God cares about what I eat and how much I sleep.  Paul prayed, “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  John wrote to his dear friend Gaius, “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2).

I am a steward of my body as well as my soul.  In fact, my body is the temple of God’s Spirit dwelling within me (1 Corinthians 3:16).  Scripture says, “God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple” (v. 17).  So I’ll skip the donuts and get to bed earlier tonight.  What could you do to improve your temple today?

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV®️ Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®️), copyright ©️ 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated in whole or in part into any other language.

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