Study sheds more light on sleep, cravings

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

If that doughnut was especially delicious this morning, you can always blame last night's thunderstorm.

That's because a recent UC Berkeley study has confirmed earlier studies that found a link between a craving for unhealthy foods and sleep deprivation.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brains of 23 healthy young adults after a good night's sleep, and again after a sleepless night, researchers told the subjects they could have their choice after the MRI.

Meanwhile, the device measured their brain activity while they were shown images of healthy foods like apples, strawberries and carrots, as well as foods like pizza and doughnuts.

The tests showed that not only did sleepy subjects crave "comfort foods," but the part of their brain that governs complex decision-making was impaired while the pleasure-seeking part of the brain was activated.

"The results shed light on how the brain becomes impaired by sleep deprivation, leading to the selection of more unhealthy foods and, ultimately, higher rates of obesity," said lead author Stephanie Greer in a release.

Most of us didn't need a study from a university to be convinced that it's important to get a good night's sleep, but headed into the school year, it's a good reminder to parents how important it is for youngsters to shut off the screen and hit the sack early, as well as enjoy a good breakfast before heading off to class.

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  • i crave more sleep

    -- Posted by dennis on Thu, Aug 8, 2013, at 3:45 PM
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