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Lack of Sleep Leads to Unhealthy Food Choices

Posted Sep 01 2013 10:08pm
Posted on Aug. 29, 2013, 6 a.m. in Sleep Diet
Lack of Sleep Leads to Unhealthy Food Choices

A sleepless night makes us more likely to reach for doughnuts or pizza than for whole grains and leafy green vegetables. Matthew P. Walker, from the University of California/Berkeley (California, USA), and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan 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 centers that respond to rewards. Moreover, the participants favored unhealthy snack and junk foods when they were sleep deprived.  Writing that: “These findings provide an explanatory brain mechanism by which insufficient sleep may lead to the development/maintenance of obesity through diminished activity in higher-order cortical evaluation regions, combined with excess subcortical limbic responsivity,” the study authors submit that lack of sleep: "[results] in the selection of foods most capable of triggering weight-gain.”

Stephanie M. Greer, Andrea N. Goldstein, Matthew P. Walker.  “The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain.”  Nature Communications, 6 August 2013.

  
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Anti-Aging Forum MLDP Join A4M
Tip #192 - Stay Connected
Researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) report that social isolation may be detrimental to both mental and physical health. The team analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, a nationwide US study involving 3,000 men and women, ages 57 to 85 years. They arrived at three key findings regarding the relationships between health and different types of isolation:

• The researchers found that the most socially connected older adults are three times as likely to report very good or excellent health compared to those who are least connected, regardless of whether they feel isolated.

• The team found that older adults who feel least isolated are five times as likely to report very good or excellent health as those who feel most isolated, regardless of their actual level of social connectedness.

• They determined that social disconnectedness is not related to mental health unless it brings feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Separately, Rush University Medical Center (Illinois, USA) researchers studied 906 older men and women, testing their motor functions (including grip, pinch strength, balance, and walking) and surveying their social activity, for a period of 5 years. Those study participants with less social activity were found to have a more rapid rate of motor function decline. Specifically, the team found that every one-point decrease in social activity corresponded to an increase in functional aging of 5 years, translating to a 40% higher risk of death and 65% higher risk of disability.

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