New brain scans of sleep deprived test subjects suggest that the appeal of junk food to a tired pre-frontal cortex is irresistible.
Lead researcher Dr Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a Research Associate with the New York Obesity Research Center, told the press:
“The same brain regions activated when unhealthy foods were presented were not involved when we presented healthy foods.”
“The unhealthy food response was a neuronal pattern specific to restricted sleep. This may suggest greater propensity to succumb to unhealthy foods when one is sleep restricted,” she added.
The scientists compared pre-frontal brain scans of twenty five male and female volunteers when they were shown images of healthy foods like fruits and veggies, and then junk foods after five nights of sleep restriction (no more than four hours of sleep per night) and regular sleep (up to 9 hours a night).
The study findings were presented at SLEEP 12, the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Boston.
Previous studies have also shown that the hormones responsible for regulating the hunger response and feeling full are also effected negatively with poor sleep patterns. It also has shown that restricted sleep makes people tend to eat more, and that people report a greater wish for sweet and salty food when they have been sleep-deprived.
The study also showed that participants ate more overall and ate more fat after restricted sleep than they did after regular sleep.
Sleep medications like Ambien are also associated with night-time food binges, including attempts at eating fully frozen food and full meals being prepared without any recollection the following morning.
Up to 70 million Americans are going without proper sleep.
David A. Mayen is founder and CEO for Sleep Recovery Centers, Inc. A brainwave biofeedback practice devoted to treating people with insomnia without the use of medications.
Copyright 2011 Sleep Recovery Centers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Website Design by EmergingDesigns.com