Friday, August 9, 2013

Scientists Discover that Sleep Deprivation Increases Cravings for Junk Food

  • Sleep deprivation impairs activity in the frontal lobe  
  • This is the part of the brain responsible for complex decision making
  • Lack of sleep increases activity in the centres that respond to rewards
  • This means sleep deprived people are more likely to choose junk food


Sleep deprivation can increase cravings for junk food, according to a new university report.
A sleepless night makes us more likely to reach for doughnuts or pizza than for whole grains and leafy green vegetables, the U.S. study suggests.

The study at the University of California, Berkeley, examined the brain regions that control food choices and researchers say the findings shed new light on the link between poor sleep and obesity.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers scanned the brains of 23 healthy young adults, first after a normal night's sleep and next, after a sleepless night. 

They found impaired activity in the sleep deprived brain's frontal lobe, which governs complex decision making, but increased activity in deeper brain centres that respond to rewards. 

Moreover, the participants [favored] unhealthy snacks and junk food when they were sleep deprived. ...

Full text: The Daily Mail