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Lack of sleep affects male and female eating habits differently study

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Wednesday 7th November 2012

A new study has found that lack of sleep can contribute to obesity by increasing men's appetite and preventing women from feeling full after a meal.

The study at the Columbia Medical Centre consisted of measuring hormone levels in the blood of 27 healthy volunteers after sleeping for 4 hours and 9 hours. The results found that restricted sleep affected levels of different hormones in men than in women. Short sleep increased total ghrelin levels – a hunger-stimulating hormone – in men but not women and reduced GLP-1 levels – glucagon that suppresses appetite – in women but not in men. The results now explain why it is common to overeat during periods of short sleep.

In the past scientists have thought that long-term sleep deprivation may contribute to obesity because it increases the number of calories eaten the following day. Until now it had not been found that the mechanism for this differs between the genders.


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