Common Chronic ConditionsHealth Trends

REM sleep tunes eating behaviour

Despite our broad understanding of the different brain regions activated during rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, little is known about what this activity serves for. Researchers have now discovered that the activation of a part of the brain called hypothalamus during REM sleep regulates eating behaviour: suppressing this activity in mice decreases appetite.

While we are asleep, we transition between different phases of sleep each of which may contribute differently to us feeling rested. During (rapid eye movement) REM sleep, a peculiar sleep stage also called paradoxical sleep during which most dreaming occurs, specific brain circuits show very high electrical activity, yet the function of this sleep-specific activity remains unclear. Among the brain regions that show strong activation during REM sleep are areas that regulate memory functions or emotion, for instance.

These findings point out that sleep quantity alone is not solely required for our well-being, but that sleep quality plays a major role in particular to maintain appropriate eating behaviour

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