Are you constantly struggling to stay awake at work or in class? Many people have this problem – and there may be a simple solution. If you’re eating a large meal during the day, it could be causing you to nod off and not get your work done. According to a new study, being hungry may help a person avoid feeling tired and sleepy during the day.
Does Being Hungry Reduce Sleepiness During the Day?
Recently, researchers at Washington University found that starving fruit flies need less sleep. In fact, these sleep-deprived flies were able to stay awake almost three times as long as well-fed fruit flies. Scientists believe this makes sense since a fruit fly that’s starving needs to stay alert to find the food it needs to survive.
Does the same hold true for humans? Small studies show that humans who are fasting sleep less. This may be due to the fact that fasting increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers greater wakefulness and alertness.
The researchers in this study also found that starved fruit flies exhibit changes in the way they metabolize fats in response to food deprivation, which could made them better able to function without sleep. This alteration in fat metabolism may play a role in regulating sleep in fruit flies.
Being Hungry and Sleepiness in Humans
Fruit flies that are deprived of food are able to stay awake without suffering serious brain drain, but the same may not be true in humans. Most humans find it hard to focus on school or work when they’re hungry and are likely to divert their attention towards finding a good meal – rather than listening to the instructor or their boss. For this reason, starvation isn’t a good tactic for staying awake in class – or being more productive at work.
So what is the best approach? To avoid sleepiness during the day, it’s best not to eat a large breakfast or lunch – but, instead, eat a series of small meals or healthy snacks during the day. A large meal diverts blood flow away from the brain and towards the digestive tract to digest the recently eaten food. Eating foods that are high in carbohydrates further aggravates this problem by increasing serotonin levels in the brain – which causes drowsiness.
Avoiding Sleepiness during the Day: The Bottom Line?
If you’re struggling to stay awake during the day, don’t eat a large meal – especially one high in carbohydrates. Eat four or five protein-rich, nutritious snacks instead – to keep your insulin levels under control and send more blood flowing to your brain instead of your stomach. Try taking a brisk walk if you start to feel sleepy, but make sure it’s not to the nearest vending machine.
Medical News Today. “Being Hungry May Provide A Way To Stay Awake Without Feeling Groggy Or Mentally Challenged”