(CNN) — Can sleeping too little cause you to gain weight or does weight gain cause sleep loss by itself?
A new study funded by the NIH and National Science Foundation tries to shed light on that.
It is part of a growing body of research that shows poor sleep quality is linked to obesity. In this study, sleep loss did not appear to lead to obesity as much as obesity caused poor sleep.
The authors studied worms closely to make these findings. Like humans and other animals, worms need sleep, but they are much easier to study because they have simple brains.
Scientists are able to isolate the neuron in the worm brain that regulates sleep.
They speculate that sleep is an attempt by the body to conserve energy. Without it, appetite is deregulated leading worms and humans to eat more and store fat.
Researchers say the study indicates the mind-body connection regarding sleep is very complex.
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