BOSTON—Sleep loss impairs the brain’s ability to integrate appetitive information, and thus makes it more difficult for people to choose healthy foods to eat, according to a study presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
After a night of sleep deprivation, brain activity in study participants’ frontal lobe was impaired, and networks governing appetitive food stimulus evaluation appeared to be disrupted.
Stephanie Greer, a graduate student at the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted an imaging study to investigate the effect of sleep deprivation on central brain mechanisms underlying food appraisal. She and her colleagues recruited eight healthy adults ages 18 to 25, eight of whom were female, for two MRI sessions during which they rated their current desire for 80 foods. The first session was conducted after a night of normal sleep, and the second was conducted after 24 hours without sleep in a repeated-measures cross-over design. The investigators took subjective taste ratings from the participants after each scan.