Sleepless Nights Lead to High-Fat Choices

Woman After Good Night of Sleep

It's long been suspected that a prolonged lack of sleep can contribute to an expanding waistline. Now, there's some definitive proof, thanks to a University of Pennsylvania study that shows a link between skipping just one night's rest and a craving for high-fat foods. 

Conducted by the Hengyi Rao, an assistant professor in the division of sleep and chronobiology at the university's Perelman School of Medicine, the study revealed that a single night of no sleepcan alter function within your brain's salience network - a cognitive pathway that scientist believe governs decision-making.

Study participants included 46 healthy, nonsmoking and mostly non-obese adults aged 21-50 who underwent a four-night, five-day series of laboratory sleep studies. On the first night each of the participants slept for nine hours. The next day, researchers conducted brain scans on each to record normal network function following a night of adequate sleep.

The next night, 34 of the participants were randomly selected to stay awake all night, while the rest slept for eight hours. The following day, brain scans again were conducted and participants were allowed to move about, read, watch TV, play board or video games and eat all they pleased.

The results certainly support the suspected relationship between prolonged sleep deprivation and the risk of obesity. Participants in the sleep-deprived group consumed some 950 extra calories on the day after the night of no sleep, compared to other participants, and compared to their caloric intake the day after a solid night's sleep. Plus, sleepless participants chose higher-fat, lower-carb foods than did those who had slept well the night before. 

Weight loss counselors with Metabolic Research Center focus on helping clients to develop healthy lifestyles that include nutritious diets, plenty of exercise and adequate rest. Call 800-501-8090 and schedule a consultation at the MRC location nearest you.


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