Lack of sleep makes your brain hungry

January 18, 2012

New research from Uppsala University, Sweden, shows that a specific brain region that contributes to a person's appetite sensation is more activated in response to food images after one night of sleep loss than after one night of normal sleep. Poor sleep habits can therefore affect people's risk of becoming overweight in the long run. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Researchers Christian Benedict and Helgi Schiöth, of the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, showed in an earlier article, published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that a single night of total loss in young normal weight men curbed the energy expenditure the next morning. This research also showed that subjects had increased levels of hunger, which indicates that an acute lack of sleep 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 examined which regions in the brain, involved in sensation, are influenced by acute sleep loss. By means of magnetic imaging (fMRI) the researchers studied the brains of 12 normal-weight males while they viewed images of foods. The researchers compared the results after a night with normal sleep with those obtained after one night without sleep.

Christian Benedict explains: "After a night of total , 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."

Explore further: A good night's sleep may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes in obese teens

More information: Benedict C, Brooks S J, O'Daly O G, Almén M S, Morell A, Åberg K, Gingnell M, Schultes B, Hallschmid M, Broman J-E, Larsson E-M, and Schiöth H B. Acute sleep deprivation enhances the brain's response to hedonic food stimuli: an fMRI study. Journal of Clinical Endocrinol Metab, in press.

Related Stories

Teen sleep deprivation related to weight gain

October 24, 2011

Sleeping less than 8 hours a night may be linked to weight gain in teens, shows a new study presented at CHEST 2011, the 77th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). Furthermore, obesity was linked ...

Recommended for you

New 'Tissue Velcro' could help repair damaged hearts

August 28, 2015

Engineers at the University of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together ...

Fertilization discovery: Do sperm wield tiny harpoons?

August 26, 2015

Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That's the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine's discovery that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, ...

Research identifies protein that regulates body clock

August 26, 2015

New research into circadian rhythms by researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga shows that the GRK2 protein plays a major role in regulating the body's internal clock and points the way to remedies for jet lag ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.