Our fast-paced world seems to insist we operate on small amounts of sleep. You might make yourself avoid that desire to hit the snooze button every morning, but there’s more at stake than being late for work: lack of sleep can be harmful to your health.

Numerous studies have been done on what happens to our bodies when we don’t get enough sleep. This article in the Huffington Post focuses on sleep deprivation and craving junk food. The resulting theory is that lack of sleep may lead to obesity.

Researchers at UC Berkley took 23 healthy young adults and measured their brain activity after a normal night’s sleep and then again after a sleepless night. The participants were shown pictures of foods including junk food and healthy food. When sleepy, not only did they crave the junk food, but the resulting MRIs showed that the part of the brain that controls rewards was more active when viewing junk food. Their brains acted differently.

Sleep deprivation has also been linked to increased insulin resistance, heart disease, memory loss and bone loss, as shown in this slideshow.

What this information tells us is that simply sleeping more may make it easier to make healthy food choices leading to weight loss. What are you waiting for? Hit the hay!