Loss of sleep 'can influence brain to increase weight gain risk'

18 January 2012

People could be at an increased risk of requiring gastric bypass surgery due to changes in brain activity resulting from a lack of sleep.

Research from the Uppsala University in Sweden has shown that a specific brain region, which contributes to appetite sensation, is more acutely activated in response to food images after poor sleep than normal rest.

This leads to a skewed sense of food perception and a heightened appetite, which can therefore result in a more pronounced risk of becoming obese in the long term.

Christian Benedict of the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, one of the researchers, said this is a potentially important finding given the growing problem posed by insufficient sleep in modern society.

"It may therefore be important to sleep about eight hours every night to maintain a stable and healthy body weight," he added.

This comes after data from the NHS Information Centre suggested that weight gain is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue among primary schoolchildren in the UK.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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