Newsletter #035: Sleep Loss Leads to Stronger Cravings for Junk Food 🍔
Welcome to the newest edition of the humanOS newsletter, and the first of 2019! 🎇
Here, we’ll share our work, plus some of the cool studies and media that we reviewed this week and that found their way onto our social media channels. 🤓
This Week’s Research Highlights
❄️ People who live in colder regions, with less sunlight, drink more alcohol on average than their warm-weather counterparts.
Researchers analyzed data from the WHO, the World Meteorological Organization, and other large public data sets. The group found a clear negative correlation between average temperature and sunlight hours and alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption was measured as total alcohol intake per capita, percent of the population that drinks alcohol, and incidence of binge drinking.
Researchers had healthy young men visit the lab for a standardized dinner on two separate nights. On one of these visits, they returned home to sleep normally, and on another, they stayed at the lab overnight and were forced to stay awake. When they stayed awake overnight, they more strongly valued food compared to non-food items, and brain imaging revealed increased activity of an amygdala-hypothalamic circuit involved in food reward.
😖 About a quarter of new asthma cases in children with obesity may be directly attributable to obesity.
Researchers analyzed data for more than 500,000 children who were followed for an average of four years. Children classified as obese had a 30% higher risk of developing asthma, compared to those at a healthy weight, after adjusting for other risk factors (including socioeconomic status and allergies). According to the research team, this suggests that perhaps 10% of all pediatric asthma cases might be prevented simply by maintaining a healthy body mass.
Researchers studied 3796 adults who had participated in a population-based cohort study in Switzerland. The team analyzed subjects’ weight, BMI, waist circumference, and body fat, together with estimates of exposure to traffic noise over the course of a decade. They found that a 10 dB increase in mean noise level was associated with a 17% increase in obesity. This may be due to how noise pollution interferes with sleep, which in turn can disrupt glucose regulation and appetite.
Podcasts We Loved This Week
- Mathias Basner: Improving Sleep Hygiene (especially sound control) for Better Health. Via the Live Long and Master Aging (LLAMA) Podcast.
- Paul Dawson and Brian Sheldon: What Happens When You Double Dip That Chip? Via Science Friday.
Products We Are Enjoying
Ginny says: Garlic is rich in organosulfur compounds, which are associated with improved immunity and cardiovascular health. Plus it’s obviously an important aromatic component of so many recipes. But I find peeling garlic to be a messy chore, which is why I got this (super cheap) silicone peeler. It makes it ridiculously easy: you just put the cloves into the tube, roll it around for a few seconds, and voila! Perfectly peeled cloves.
New humanOS Content
- Blog: humanOS Year in Review (Part 3 of 3): Circadian Rhythms, Sleep, and the Brain. By Greg Potter.
This week on the blog, we published the third of a three-part series of blogs, which reflects upon our 45 blogs and 23 podcasts that we published in 2018 (ICYMI: first part can be found here, and the second part can be viewed here). In this week’s post, Greg recaps developments in the science of circadian rhythms, light exposure, sleep, and the brain that we covered on the blog and our catalog of courses this year. Here are a few quick highlights:
- Light exposure is pivotal to good health - exposure to blue light can substantially lower blood pressure and may even be a regulator of fat cell function. On the opposite side of the coin, insufficient light during the day may detrimentally affect cognitive function.
- We are starting to better understand the essential purpose of sleep - research suggests that sleep may be needed to alleviate oxidative stress in the brain. Slow-wave sleep seems to be particularly restorative, which is why there is great interest in techniques to enhance deep slumber.
- The start of the new year is often a period of self-improvement - but how can you make your resolutions “stick?” Knowledge is not enough to make lifestyle changes. We need to learn how to build habits over the long term.
And much more!