Scientists are still trying to understand the full purpose of sleep. But we know one thing it’s probably good for: it may help keep you on that diet.
Researchers scanned the brains of 12 normal weight men, while they looked at images of high and low caloric food—after a night of normal sleep and then also a night without any sleep. After one night of zero sleep the scans showed a high level of activity in the area responsible for hunger, the right anterior cingulate cortex . Now, this response was independent of how hungry a subject claimed he was before scanning, as well as the caloric content associated with the food in the pictures.
Interestingly, after looking at the food images, subjects who went without sleep reported that they were hungrier than those who’d snoozed the night away. But blood glucose levels taken before the subjects were shown images of food were the same as those measured after.
So sleep loss resulted in what scientists call “hedonic stimulus processing”—they had a heightened desire to eat, independent of their blood glucose levels. Take home message: lack of sleep plus Food TV equals phony hunger. And probably real pounds.
anterior cingulate cortex: n. 前扣带皮层
snooze: vi. 打盹儿
hedonic: adj. 享乐的；快乐的；快感的
phony: adj. 虚假的，有欺骗性的
研究人员找来了12名体重正常的男性，让他们第一晚正常睡觉，第二晚彻夜不眠，并分别在每晚结束后给他们看了高热量和低热量食物的图片，同时做了大脑扫描。一夜没睡之后的大脑扫描表示，负责饥饿的大脑区域，也就是右侧前扣带皮层（anterior cingulate cortex）的活跃度很高。现在，这种响应和受试者在扫描之前声称自己多饿没有关系，和图片中食物的卡路里含量也没有关系。
所以，睡眠缺乏会导致家所说的“快感刺激过程”（hedonic stimulus processing），他们拥有高涨的食欲，且与血糖水平无关。综上所述：缺觉+吃播=虚假的饥饿感，可能还有真实的变胖危险。
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