Study links lack of sleep with weight gain risk

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th January 2012

New research from Uppsala University, in Sweden, has found a new link between poor sleeping habits and increased risk of becoming overweight.

The research, which was published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that a specific brain region which contributes to a person’s appetite is more active when the person is deprived of sleep.

In the latest 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 appetite sensation, are influenced by acute sleep loss.

By means of magnetic imaging 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 said, “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.”

[Editor’s note: This story is interesting because some studies had indicated that lack of sleep may be connected with high energy food intake late in the day.]