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Less Sleep Brings on the Munchies: Lack of Zzzs Increases Appetite

Recent research from the University of Chicago’s Sleep, Health and Metabolism Center has found that not getting enough sleep increases a cannabinoid chemical in the body that increases appetite. The result is a lack of control in snacking.

The researchers tested 14 young adults by comparing the results of four nights of normal sleep with four nights of only four-and-a-half hours of sleep. The researchers found that after reduced sleep, the subjects’ hunger increased significantly and their ability to resist afternoon snacking decreased.

This surge in snacking urges also matched significantly increased circulating levels of endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol, which peaked in the afternoon, coinciding with the increase in snack cravings.

“We found that sleep restriction boosts a signal that may increase the hedonic aspect of food intake,” concludes lead study author Erin Hanlon, Ph.D., from the University of Chicago Medical Center.

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