Afternoon Sleepiness? Protein, Not Sugar, Keeps Us Awake

Dr Denis Burdakov, from the University of Cambridge in the UK, and colleagues have carried out a study which, they claim, shall help people through their obesity as well as sleep disorders. Through significant research, they have found out that sleep problems are related to ,not sugar (as was always understood) but protein infact. It is protein that stimulates certain brain cells responsible for keeping us awake and 'thin' as well.

Researchers explained that, in the brain's hypothalamus, there are orexin cells which release a stimulant called orexin/hypocretin. This stimulant regulates energy balance, wakefulness and reward. It was known prior to these experiments that "loss of these unique cells results in narcolepsy and weight gain"

"Sleep patterns, health, and body weight are intertwined. Shift work, as well as poor diet, can lead to obesity," he explained. "Electrical impulses emitted by orexin cells (in brain) stimulate wakefulness and tell the body to burn calories. We wondered whether dietary nutrients alter those impulses."

After thorough research they agreed upon the conclusion that more information was still needed to determine 'how diet affects sleep and appetite', so as to improve ways of combating obesity and insomnia.

"For now, research suggests that if you have a choice between jam on toast, or egg whites on toast, go for the latter!", said Dr Burdakov

"Even though the two may contain the same number of calories, having a bit of protein will tell the body to burn more calories out of those consumed," he added.


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