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Sleep Loss and Hunger

Do you ever find yourself unusually hungry? During that period of hunger do you find yourself going for the three left over slices of pizza? Sleep loss is more than likely the culprit behind bad food choices. Sleep deprivation does not just affect senses but it also affects a person’s ability to choose the proper foods. Right now you are probably leaning toward statistics that point to unhealthy eating habits and choices in the population. Have you ever wondered if those habits are created by something more than environment and conditioning?

MRI scans from studies conducted in 2012 have revealed that sleep deprivation impairs high order regions of the brain where food choices are made. If you don’t sleep well chances are you are more likely to want to eat a dozen jelly doughnuts, as opposed to oatmeal, for breakfast. Some of the experiments conducted were conducted using healthy volunteers with typically good and healthy eating habits.

The MRI scans studied various parts of the brain and compared rested individuals to individuals less rested. In an article on it was stated that “When Stephanie Greer, a graduate student at the Helen Willis Neuroscience Institute Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California Berkley, scrutinized MRI studies of the striatum- the area of the brain that is linked to rewards- she found no statistically between the sleep deprived and the sleep rested individuals.”  So according to the studies presented it wasn’t the areas of our brain controlling rewards.

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The studies further revealed that when we fail to integrate the signals sent by areas like the frontal lobe we don’t make wise choices. It’s fair to speculate that while this isn’t a resolution to the problem of obesity it’s a step in the right direction in terms of helping orient others in terms of what are some of the correct steps to take in order to combat obesity.

Always remember that a good night’s sleep means more than just the possibility of a productive day, it means a possibly healthy day as well. If you have any questions about MRI scans, MRI procedures, or imaging in general, please feel free to contact us, we would love to hear from you.

Posted By:

Bobby Serros
President & CEO



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