Scientists Uncover Link Between Sleep Loss and Weight Gain

Tuesday, 06 Aug 2013 10:05 PM

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Lack of sleep makes us less able to resist the lure of junk food, a new study has found.

New research published in the journal Nature Communications found that when people didn't get adequate sleep fattening foods like potato chips and candy stimulated stronger responses in the brain, The New York Times reported.

A sleepy brain appears to not only respond more strongly to junk food, but also has less ability to rein in that impulse.
 
The connection between sleep loss and weight gain has long been known. But the new study from the University of California, Berkeley, sheds new light on the biological mechanism behind it.

Scientists have found that when people are allowed to sleep eight hours one night and then half that amount on another, they end up eating more on the days when they’ve had less sleep.
 
“There’s something that changes in our brain when we’re sleepy that’s irrespective of how much energy we need,” said Dr. Kenneth P. Wright, the director of the sleep and chronobiology lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “The brain wants more even when the energy need has been fulfilled.”

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