According to The Student Printz, a study showed depriving people of sleep for 24 hours created notable changes in neurological responses to high calorie foods.
Matthew P. Walker, a professor of neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley, authored a study published in “Current Biology,” a bi-monthly scholarly journal. Walker’s research primarily focuses on sleep affecting emotions, the physical body and psychiatric illness.
In this particular study, depriving people of sleep for 24 hours created significant changes in neurological responses to high calorie foods. Fattening foods stimulated stronger reactions in the part of the brain that motivates eating. Participants likewise experienced less activity in the frontal cortex—a region of the brain where rational decisions are made.
It has been theorized that people who try to make up for calories they use while staying up, is the relationship between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Walker’s study says there is more.
“Their hunger was no different when they were sleep-deprived and when they had a normal night of sleep,” Walker said. “That’s important because it suggests that the changes we’re seeing are caused by sleep deprivation itself, rather than simply being more metabolically impaired when you’re sleep-deprived.”