It has so far been thought that afternoon sleepiness can be gotten rid of by consuming sugars. However, new research has brought to light that it is proteins and not sugars that help in keeping a person away from sleep in the afternoons. Proteins stimulate certain cells in the brain and keep the person awake. `In addition, proteins are tougher to digest and hence, the brain is active giving instructions to the body to burn more calories so that proteins can be digested. This activity keeps people awake. The study has been conducted by researchers from University of Cambridge in United Kingdom and the study has been led by Dr. Denis Burdakov. The study can also help in understanding obesity better, besides providing a solution to solve the drowsiness that most of the people experience in the afternoons, after meals.
Orexin cells in the brain are responsible for sending signals to the body to burn more calories when the body requires more energy. Eating proteins requires an enhanced energy usage and hence, the brain sends signals to burn calories and this keeps a person awake. Researchers have said that there is a strong relation between diet, weight and sleep. Obesity is the resultant of irregular food habits. Scientists have shown that when the function of orexin cells in the brain depletes, a person finds it hard to maintain optimum weight. These cells are located in the hypothalamus region of the brain. The present study was undertaken the response of different kinds of foods to these cells.
In order to ascertain the effects of different food products on the functioning of orexin, a series of experiments were conducted. It was found that proteins and the aminoacids present in them trigger these cells into action. When compared to any other food item, proteins have the best effect on these cells. Mice models were used for the study.
In order to undertake these experiments, mice were genetically modified so as to have the orexin cells in their brains shimmer with a florescent glow. These mice were administered different nutrients and effect of each of them was monitored. Before the study had begun, scientists were in the know that glucose content in food hampered the work of orexins and hence, they gained weight. It was found that amino acids successfully blocked the function of glucose, which is responsible for blocking the function of orexin. The study concluded that proteins can effectively stop the negative action of glucose on orexin and so, was a good antidote against sleepiness.