Food smells better to sleepyheads


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Foods may smell more appetizing when you’re tired.

Getting too little sleep seems to increase the brain’s sensitivity to food smells, a new study finds. This suggests sleep-deprived people might finds snacks more enticing. If true, this could help explain why people who burn the candle at both ends tend to eat more — and often weigh more.

Surabhi Bhutani is a nutrition scientist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. She shared her team’s new findings here on March 27 at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting.

The group brought adults into their lab who had had slept only four hours the night before. Each inhaled a sequence of food odors. They might, for instance, include the scent of potato chips or cinnamon rolls….

The Science of Sleepwalking

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If a member of your family sleepwalks, or you do, most of the time it’s nothing so much as odd, and sometimes comical. For some though, it’s a different thing. Welsh-Australian artist Lee Hadwin is only creatively productive when he’s asleep — the rest of the time he has no special talent for sketching, his métier. (How appropriate he exhibits at the Rise Gallery.)

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Lee Hadwin (LEE HADWIN)

Sleepwalkers can also be a danger to themselves (poor Olive Oyl), or violent to others: Toronto’s Kenneth Parks who drove, asleep, 23 kilometers in 1987 to brutally murder the mother-in-law with whom he had a fond waking relationship.

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Kenneth Parks meets the press outside court

The number of people who sleepwalk is around 4%, and it’s on the rise, partially due to sleep medicines like Ambien. Philip Jaekl, writing for Aeon, explains what the latest science suggests is happening when people exhibit this uniquely human characteristic.

Scientists believe sleepwalking occurs when two areas of the brain — the limbic region of the brain that deals with raw emotions and the area of the cortex that manages complex motor activity — remain awake while the areas that would otherwise mitigate their primitive impulses — notably…