(Natural News) Not getting adequate sleep at night has been linked with overeating, poor food choices, and weight gain. A new study shows that lack of sleep also amplifies and extends the blood levels of a chemical that enhances the joy you feel when you eat especially sweet, salty, or high-fat snack foods.
Findings published in the journal SLEEP showed that sleep-deprived participants are unable to resist what the researchers considered were highly palatable, satisfying snacks. These included cookies, candy, and chips. This was despite the participants having consumed a meal that already supplied 90 percent of their daily caloric needs just two hours prior.
The study further noted that the effects of sleep loss on appetite were most evident in the late afternoon as well as the early evening – prime time for mindless and excessive snacking that often leads to weight gain.
According to Dr. Erin Hanlon, a research associate in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the University of Chicago, “We found that sleep restriction boosts a signal that may increase the hedonic aspect of food intake, the pleasure, and satisfaction gained from eating.”
She explains that lack of sleep augments the endocannabinoid system. This is the very same system that marijuana targets to increase a user’s desire for food.
The chemical signal involved is called endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). At night, the chemical’s levels, 2-AG usually stay low only to rise once morning comes and peak come early afternoon. When a person lacks sleep, 2-AG levels stay up throughout the evening.
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According to the researchers, this was why the participants experienced stronger cravings especially for foods high in carbs and fats. Indeed, given access to snacks, the participants consumed twice the amount of fatty and carb-rich foods compared to what they would have eaten if they a full eight-hour sleep.
Hanlon further explains that each added hour of wakefulness uses about 17 extra calories, which adds up to about 70 calories for the four hours of lost sleep. Given the opportunity, however, the subjects in the study more than made up for the missing calories by taking in more than 300 extra calories. In the long run, lacking sleep and the eating behavior it causes will lead to weight gain, among other complications.
As the study suggests, getting a full night’s sleep is essential to avoiding obesity and ensuring optimal health. But what if you have difficulty sleeping? You can follow the tips below:
Improve your sleeping habits with tips from Remedies.news.