Besides many causes that could make a person gains weight, lack of sleep is another one that could also cause people to put on weight in the long run.
In fact, earlier research done by researchers from the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University had reported on October 21, 2009 in ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’ that the energy expenditure of young men with normal weight were curbed after a night of total sleep loss. They also showed that these young men had raised their levels of hunger indicating that an acute lack of sleep might affect human’s food perception.
The same researchers have taken a step further. On January 18, 2012, they together with researchers from other European universities reported in ‘The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism’ that a specific brain region that contributes to a person’s appetite sensation can be more activated in response to food images after a night of sleep loss than a night of normal sleep.
They had systematically examined which regions in the brain, responsible for appetite sensation, are influenced by acute sleep deprivation. Using magnetic imaging (MRI), they studied the brains of 12 normal-weight males while they were viewing images of foods.
Results after a night of normal sleep were compared with those obtained after a night without sleep. It was found that the participants showed a high level of activation in an area of the brain that is involved in a desire to eat. The findings explained why poor sleep habits could affect people’s risk of gaining weight in the long run.
In modern society, insufficient sleep has become a growing problems among many people. This might in part contribute to the growing levels of obesity, which is believed to be the risk factor for many diseases including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
It is, therefore, paramount that people should try to sleep about 8 hours every night just to keep a stable and healthy body weight.