It appears that sleep deprivation disrupts the functioning of the frontal lobe, a region crucial when it comes time to make complex choices such as the distinction between a healthy and an unhealthy diet.
“Our main objective was to see if some areas involved in food selection could be disrupted by lack of sleep,” said the lead author of the research, Stephanie Geer, a graduate of the University of California.
The study was conducted among 23 healthy adults. They had to evaluate to what degree they want to eat different foods at two test sessions, one after the other and slept after being deprived of sleep. The researchers then analyzed the brain activity of participants through the magnetic resonance imaging.
“We did not find significant differences between the two sessions are usually sought in relation to regions, she said. By cons, we found that certain regions of the frontal lobe were struggling to integrate all data that normally help to make healthy choices. ”
This failure to gather all the information needed to decide what type of food preference may partly explain the link between sleep deprivation and obesity.
The results of this study were presented at SLEEP 2012, the 26th edition of the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, in Boston.