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How Lack of Sleep Makes Us Binge on Fatty Foods

by Reshma Anand on March 1, 2016 at 2:32 PM
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How Lack of Sleep Makes Us Binge on Fatty Foods

Do you often grab some fatty snacks to cheer up on a tiring day? It may be because of sleep debt than cravings.

A new study published in the Journal SLEEP revealed that sleep deprivation stimulates a particular region of the brain associated with hunger and food intake.

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Researchers from the University of Chicago compared healthy adults who were made to sleep for 8.5 hours versus 4.5 hours. They were given similar meals at 9 am, 2 pm and 7 pm.

They measured circulating concentrations of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and its structural analog 2-oleoylglycerol (2-OG). They found the levels of 2-AG verified in the middle of the night and increased in the afternoon among participants in both the groups.
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But in people who were sleep deprived, 2-AG concentration elevated, resulting in increased hunger and intake of fatty snacks. Thus, sleep restriction is associated with the activation of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system, a key component involved in modulating appetite and food intake.

"The rise in 2-AG could be 'a mechanism by which recurrent sleep restriction results in excessive food intake, particularly in the form of snacks, despite minimal increases in energy need", the researchers said.

Reference: Hanlon EC, Tasali E, Leproult R, Stuhr KL, Doncheck E, de Wit H, Hillard CJ, Van Cauter E. Sleep restriction enhances the daily rhythm of circulating levels of endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol. SLEEP 2016; 39(3):653-664.

Source: Medindia
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