(Mirror Daily, United States) – Coffee may help us stay awake while cramming for a last-minute exam or focus at work after a late night out with friends, but it does nothing when it comes to the chemical reactions that happen in our brains when it is deprived of its R&R. Scientists have found that sleep deprivation causes excessive hunger, which may lead to an increased BMI and other health problems.
A new small study that focused on the changes in the body’s chemistry when it is deprived of sleep concluded that sleep deprivation causes excessive hunger.
The lead author of the study in question, a research associate in diabetes, metabolism and endocrinology at Chicago University, Erin Hanlon, declared that his findings only add to the growing literature focused on the effects of sleep deprivation.
In order to reach his conclusions, Hanlon gathered a sample of 14 volunteers, most of them students at the University. He then divided the participants into two groups. The first slept a little more than eight hours, the second roughly four and a half hours.
The first phase of the experiment lasted four days. On the first three, the subjects were given three regular meals that had the daily caloric necessities. On the fourth, all of the volunteers were allowed to choose their meals.
Before and after every meal the volunteers were asked to complete a questionnaire that focused on their hunger levels, their cravings and their satiety.
Blood tests were made each day. And according to the results, the members of the second group, those who were sleep deprived, had more endocannabinoids alterations in their blood than those who benefited from a good night’s rest.
The elevated levels of ghrelin, also known as lenomorelin, or the hunger hormone, made the volunteers that only slept four hours significantly hungrier than the ones that allowed their brain a healthy amount of rest. The eight hours plus group had higher levels of leptin in their blood. Leptin is also known as the satiety hormone.
After a month of rest, the participants were called back, and the groups were changed. Those who slept eight hours the first time were now asked to sleep for four hours, and vice-versa. The results remained consistent.
Even though Hanlon’s study was small, it revealed the fact that sleep deprivation causes excessive hunger. An idea that was already circling the scientific community.
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