New studies have shown that sleep deprivation can make fast food and snacks more tempting and irresistible. Years of research have shown, that lack of sleep or sleep deprivation can lead to a serious amount of diseases like heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes among other illnesses. 

SLEEP Journal published in its March issue a study that suggested  sleep deprivation can affect the brain receptors and lead the patient to crave food, the same way those brain receptors are activated by marijuana use. Researchers found amplified endocannabinoid levels in the blood of the sleep deprived. Leading to hunger pangs increasing in the early afternoon and night.

Credit: Why Because Science

The study showed fourteen participants, healthy and non-obese subjects, between the ages of 18 and 30. They were submitted by groups to four nights of good sleep and four nights of sleep deprivation. After, they were given two meals and unlimited access to “palatable snacks” which included chips with guacamole and salsa, Doritos, Candy, Cheetos, Ice Cream and healthy options like fruit, yogurt, between others.

The subjects in the study who were deprived of sleep were found hungrier and craved more snacks consuming nearly as twice as much fat and protein than the group who had a good sleep schedule.

The identification of uncontrollable food cravings will help doctors and scientists develop new areas of research that will help people harness the “munchies”. Research suggests that the lack of sleep increases the body’s need for calories, and people who sleep less consume more.

This comes as a response to the National Health Interview Survey, announced between 2005 and 2007  that nearly 30 percent of adults sleep six hours or less per day. And the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014, said that two out of three Americans over the age of 20, are overweight or obese.

This type of discoveries can help in the prevention in the U.S population, regarding health  and sleep issues.

Source: NYT