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Poor sleep habits are linked to obesity, study finds

According to a new study from the Society for Neuroscience, a sleepless night can increase one’s desire to eat junk food.

Julia Rihm, from the University of Cologne, Germany, and her colleagues wanted to better understand the link between decision-making processes and hormones in relation to food choices and sleep deprivation.

In their study, published December 17th in JNeurosci, a group of participants visited the lab on two separate evenings and ate a standardized dinner. After each visit, one group of participants were instructed to go home and sleep normally, and the other group was told to spend the night at the lab, where they would be kept awake all night.

The next morning, researchers assessed each participant’s desire for junky snack foods, their brain activity, and hormone levels.

The team found that, after being sleep deprived, participants who spent the night in the lab displayed an increased subjective value of food compared to non-food items, not based on hormonal effects.

This same group showed increased activity in the brain circuit involving the amygdala and hypothalamus.

Researchers can conclude that sleep deprivation can play a role in overeating, and therefore, may contribute to obesity.

By Olivia Harvey, Staff Writer

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