If you were asked to name anyone in your lifetime that has consistently shown an inability to control emotional responses, has poor decision-making abilities, and an extreme lack of impulse control, who would it be? The answer for me, hands down, would be—COOKIE MONSTER!
The loveable furry blue fellow from Sesame Street who has consistently devoured cookies to entertain kids is constantly struggling with making good nutrition choices. One of the latest trending videos proves, after all these years, Cookie Monster still yearns for those sweet treats even though he is trying to eat more vegetables.
That is exactly how most of us are at work when our energy begins to deplete and our eyes can’t stay off the clock. We run to the snack machine, thinking “ME NEED COOKIE NOT APPLE”, to get that quick sugar fix to keep us going until five o’clock. However, an article from CNN Health, reported that a possible explanation for the warring Dr. Jekyll and Cookie Monster inside of us was simply to get more sleep.
Dr. Michael Breus referred to studies that were conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered “…activity in the brain's frontal lobe was diminished after a poor night of sleep.”
This is the area that has a major role in our food choices because it controls judgment, impulse control, and decision-making ability. The studies were conducted on groups who had eight hours of restful sleep and then others that had less than six hours of sleep. Then the groups were given MRI’s while being shown pictures of different foods.
The results showed definitive changes in the frontal lobe area that, surprisingly, was not what the researchers had expected. Previous information suggested junk food choices affected the pleasure-seeking areas of the brain and were a matter of desire and reward. Now they are beginning to understand the brain is seeking a high caloric energy boost to keep going.
Sleep deprivation has been shown to cause many health issues so the important thing to remember is that it is not about quantity but quality.
To ensure a better quality of sleep, WebMD suggests:
- Go to bed at the same time every day
- Create a relaxing bedroom environment
- Avoid watching television or eating a large meal right before bed
- Turn off the cell phone
So, the next time you find yourself singing, “C is for cookie” at the office, it might be worth hitting the hay a little earlier than usual. If you can’t avoid a late night, be prepared with healthy energy boosting alternatives on hand at the office. Stash stuff like fruit and veggie snacks in easy to reach places so snacking is a no brainer.
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