People are more likely to opt for unhealthy food after they
have endured a poor night's sleep, new research has
Two studies presented at this week's Sleep 2012 conference in
Boston showed that sleep deprivation can impair the parts of the
human brain responsible for food choices.
One of the studies, led by Columbia University in New York, found
that unhealthy foods triggered a greater response in the brain's
reward centres among people who had restricted sleep.
"The results suggest that, under restricted sleep, individuals
will find unhealthy foods highly salient and rewarding, which may
lead to greater consumption of those foods," said the university's
Dr Marie-Pierre St-Onge.
Researchers believe such findings may help to explain the
connection between sleep deprivation and obesity.
In the second study, led by Stephanie Greer at the University of
California, people were asked to rate their interest in 80 food
items following both a night of normal sleep and a night of sleep
The results suggested that a lack of sleep impaired activity in
the frontal lobe of the brain, which is important for controlling
behaviour and making decisions.
Posted by Elizabeth Mewes