Sweden's Uppsala University researchers say lack of sufficient and good night sleep may sabotage diet and weight loss by increasing hunger and appetite.
The new study showed that a specific brain region that contributes to appetite sensation is more activated in response to food images after one night of sleep loss, says the report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Researchers used functional MRI scan technology (fMRI) to study the brain activity of 12 normal-weight males when they viewed images of food after being deprived a whole night from sleep.
The results were compared with the brain scans obtained from the same participants who viewed food images after a sufficient night's sleep.
“After a night of total sleep loss, these males showed a high level of activation in an area of the brain that is involved in a desire to eat,” said co-author Christian Benedict.
“Bearing in mind that insufficient sleep is a growing problem in modern society, our results may explain why poor sleep habits can affect people's risk to gain weight in the long run,” he added.
According to their findings, researchers concluded that sleeping about eight hours at night is crucial for maintaining a stable and healthy body weight.
The study results may also be important for people with sleep disorders who are following a restricted diet to lose their extra weight.