Yesterday I revealed how less shuteye invites in more disease—and can sabotage weight loss efforts.
Because the truth is, sleep loss DRIVES you towards junk food—and could be putting your 2023 resolutions at risk.
So, today, let’s look at WHY skimping on shuteye might make you pack on the pounds, despite your best efforts…
According to a recent study, not getting enough sleep changes brain chemicals in a way that makes it impossible to resist snacking, even if you’re not hungry.
Well, researchers found the source of the problem is a specific region of the brain that gets impaired after a sleepless night. It’s responsible for controlling appetite and regulating food intake. And without sleep, it goes haywire.
In a randomized, crossover study, the researchers compared how people’s food choices changed after four nights of normal sleep (8.5 hours) and after four nights of only 4.5 hours of sleep.
On the fourth night of each stage, participants were offered a selection of unhealthy snacks. Those who had slept enough weren’t swayed.
But those who were functioning on only a few hours of sleep? They felt the pull.
In fact, they ate an average of 300 calories of snacks—even though they had eaten big meals just two hours earlier.
The blame falls on a compound called endocannabinoid 2-AG. This chemical is responsible for the pleasure we get from food—especially sweet or salty, high-fat food. And when we’re short on sleep, we produce higher amounts.
The endocannabinoid-snack connection
The timing of endocannabinoid 2-AG production also changes depending on sleep patterns. In this study, the researchers found that people who were getting enough sleep had endocannabinoid 2-AG levels increase in the morning, peak around midday, and fall as the day progressed.
In those who were sleep-deprived, however, morning levels rose 33 percent higher, peaked at 2 p.m., and stayed elevated until 9 p.m.
Do those afternoon and evening “snack attacks” make more sense now?
Of course, this isn’t the first time endocannabinoids have been linked to appetite. Past studies show they’re involved in food-seeking behaviors and hunger regulation.
They’re also linked to pain sensation, mood, and memory. And now we know that they’re greatly affected by sleep.
Of course, we’re only touching the tip of the iceberg when looking at endocannabinoids and how they relate to health. (Yet another thing we have deprived ourselves of knowing because of the laws surrounding their most commonly known cousin—pot.)
But I think with the growing legalization of marijuana across the country, we’re going to see a lot more research like this. And I say, it’s about time!
In the meantime, I’ll continue reporting on any health breakthrough right here in my Reality Health Check, in my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter, and, of course, in specialized programs like my Perfect Sleep Protocol.
And remember—in a nutshell, the keys to successful weight management are a healthy, low-sugar, low-carb, high-fat diet… consistent exercise… and, as this study proves again, a good night’s sleep.
Until next week,
“Sleep loss activates ‘pleasure’ part of brain to seek out snacks, says study.” FOOD navigator, 03/01/2016. (foodnavigator.com/article/2016/03/01/sleep-loss-activates-pleasure-part-of-brain-to-seek-out-snacks-says-study) >