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Sleep deprivation may lead to food cravings, especially less healthy food, compared with normal sleep, research suggests.

A study of 32 healthy, young, nonsmoking men of normal weight had a night of normal sleep at home and a sleepless night in a laboratory, after the same dinner both nights. When choosing between snacks or non-food items the next morning, sleep deprived participants chose the food, though hunger levels were the same after both nights.

Brain images taken after each night showed increased activity between the amygdala and hypothalamus, indicating a behavioral connection between sleep and food choice, rather than a hormonal finding, fueling the controversy between the two.

(Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384. www.EnvironmentalNutrition.com.)

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