Sleep and Hunger

Via Redtailblogger I found this interesting article that pulls together some of the relationships between eating and sleeping.

What I have long noticed is:

  • the more I eat, the more I need to sleep
  • when I suffer from lack of sleep, I lose my appetite

I’ve also long held the belief that there is a connection between longevity and sleep patterns. I’m not sure where I picked this up, but I’m sure it was reinforced by the movie The Hunger.

It seems like the link between sleep and hunger is the hormone Orexin.

The findings help explain orexin’s link to the metabolic system, the researchers said. The body is known to step up its production of orexin when blood sugar gets low. The researchers hypothesized that when a body has low blood sugar and gets hungry, the increase in orexin activates HIF-1 production, revving up metabolism so the body gets the most energy out of the sugar on hand.

Previous studies show that the absence of Orexin causes Narcolepsy (which is no fun, unless it’s your 9th grade English teacher who has in in which case life is full of great excitement).

None of this actually explains my observations… but they are getting there.


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