Researchers have found after examining the areas of the brain that unhealthy foods are more appealing to people who haven’t had enough sleep.
Researchers found that the reward centers of the brain were activated when sleep-deprived volunteers saw pictures of unhealthy foods.
“We found regions associated with reward and motivation — those that are involved with addiction and pleasure-seeking behaviors — were more strongly activated in the short-sleep phase,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a research associate at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center and an assistant professor at Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition in New York City.
Researchers at University of California, Berkley found that there was impaired activity in the area of the frontal lobe of the brain with sleep-deprived volunteers. This area helps the brain control behaviors and makes complex choices. When the sleep-deprived volunteers saw pictures of unhealthy foods, this area of the brain did not respond well – making healthy choices more difficult.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that there is no magic number on sleep, but it depends on the person’s needs. On average, it’s been found that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night whereas teenagers need 8 ½ – 9 ½ hours of sleep. Setting up a consistent sleep schedule is recommended, so the body can get used to sleeping at certain times.
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