There are many damages of bad sleep on human health, the most prominent of which is the loss of focus, disorders of the nervous system, and blood circulation, but bad sleep has other effects that may not come to mind.
Many studies have linked bad sleep with an increase in human weight, and it was thought that this was caused by disruptions in the hormonal system that cause a permanent or intermittent feeling of hunger, which inevitably leads to eating larger amounts of foods that lead to obesity and even diabetes.
All of these studies are based, as mentioned, on the hypothesis of hormonal imbalance resulting from a lack of or a continuous lack of sleep quality, knowing that doctors differentiate between poor sleep and insomnia, that the first has to do with sleep quality and the second is by creating great difficulties in falling asleep.
However, doctors from the German University of Cologne (West) reached more accurate results, which were published in the journal “Journal of Neuroscience”. These results indicate that poor sleep or even insomnia stimulates the reward system in the brain, including the need to eat sugars on for example.
Neuroscientists define the brain’s reward system as a set of neural structures and pathways that are responsible for perception, including cooperative learning, that is, motivation, reward, and positive emotions, particularly emotions involving pleasure.
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It is noteworthy that the doctors also proceeded from the first hypothesis based on hormonal disorders and subjected some of the participants in their study to a brain scan, in a step that led them to unexpected results.
And the team on which the research was conducted includes 32 healthy men. They were divided into two groups. Each group had dinner on two different days, several days apart. While everyone from the first group went to their home to sleep, the men of the second group stayed in the laboratory, where they received stimulants that prevent them from sleeping.
The next day, the brain activity of all the study participants was examined through magnetic resonance imaging, and then the level of hormonal secretions in their bodies was examined.
And in the last stage, they had to answer a set of questions, including their nutritional preferences and whether they wanted to buy ready-to-eat foods (fast food) or other things unrelated to eating. Finally, they had to rate how hungry they were.
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The results were amazing, as the group that spent the night without sleep, blood tests did not show any significant hormonal disorders, yet all of them wanted to buy food. The secret is that MRI scans show the clear activity of the reward system in the brain. Delicious foods are among the “prizes” that the reward system craves for satisfying the zonal system, which doctors consider responsible for emotional functions in the human body, and for this, they also call it the emotional brain.