A relatively new study coming from Uppsala University, Sweden, demonstrates that a particular brain area that leads to a person’s desire for food is far more stimulated in response to images of food after a night without sleep than after a good night sleep.
In other words irregular sleeping habits can make you overweight over time. These results are published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Scientists Christian Benedict and Helgi Schiöth, of the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, demonstrated in an previously posted article,which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that only one night without sleep curbed the energy expenditure the next morning.
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The subjects were healthy, young men with normal weight. This research also confirmed that all subjects had elevated levels of food cravings, which suggests that an extreme sleep shortage may may affect human’s food perception.
In a new study, Christian Benedict, together with Samantha Brooks, Helgi Schiöth and Elna-Marie Larsson from Uppsala University and researchers from other European universities, have now systematically analyzed the areas of the brain, involved in the feeling hunger and food cravings.
All of these areas were affected by acute loss of sleep. With the help of magnetic imaging (MRI) the research workers analyzed the brains of 12 males that had “normal” weight, while they looked at photos of different foods. The results that were recorded after a night without sleep were compared to the results of the same males after they had a good night sleep.
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Christian Benedict explains:
“After a night of total sleep loss, these males showed a high level of activation in an area of the brain that is involved in a desire to eat. Bearing in mind that insufficient sleep is a growing problem in modern society, our results may explain why poor sleep habits can affect people’s risk to gain weight in the long run. It may therefore be important to sleep about eight hours every night to maintain a stable and healthy body weight.”
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Source: Uppsala University