A specific brain region that contributes to a person’s sense of appetite is more active when shown food images after one night of sleep loss than after one night of normal sleep. There is a link between poor sleep habits and over eating which can lead to obesity.
Researcher Christian Benedict and Helgi Schioth, of the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, have been studying sleep or lack of it and the effect that deprivation has on appetite. They previously found that a single night of total sleep loss in young normal weight men reduced total energy expenditure the following morning.
For this study, they systematically looked at the regions in the brain involved in appetite perception and how those regions reacted with sleep deprivation. By using functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI) they could see how the brain reacted when viewing images of food. They looked at sleep deprived and sleep satisfied individuals and compared results.
“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,” explained Benedict.
Source: ScienceDaily, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism