Losing Sleep Makes You Fat!

Can chronic sleep deprivation cause weight gain?  Do poor sleep habits lead to food cravings and an insatiable appetite?  Researchers now suspect that lack of sleep may be a key factor behind the current obesity epidemic, but low blood sugar is not the cause.

Two research studies from early 2012 illustrate how those of us with the shortest sleep span are most susceptible to over-eat.  One short Swedish study looked at 12 normal-weight male subjects and found using magnetic resonance imaging that the areas of the brain associated with hunger, food cravings and food seeking light up like red lights on a christmas tree when such sleep-deprived subjects are shown food images. You may find this interesting: Acute Sleep Deprivation Enhances the Brain’s Response to Hedonic Food Stimuli: An fMRI Study

Another study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed a group of 30 healthy men and women who were subjected to periods of both sleep deprivation (4 hours per night) or adequate sleep (9 hour) over a 2 week period.  Once again, when deprived of sleep, certain areas of the brain became activated, particularly those associated with hunger, heightened awareness of the reward value of food and the desire to seek food.  Also affected were areas of the brain affecting decision making, cognitive processing and motivation .

Having sleeping problems?  Read new research findings here.

Read the research here about how “Sleep restriction leads to increased activation of brain regions sensitive to food stimuli” 


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