Poor Sleep May Affect the Brain Like Smoking Pot. Researchers say a chemical reaction in the brain causes people who don't get enough sleep to eat more. Specifically, to eat more junk food. The reasons are similar to getting the munchies after smoking pot.
Researchers at the University of Chicago found endocannabinoid production in the brain increases with lack of sleep. The increase also increases the the pleasure derived from eating sweets, candy, and other delicious but unhealthy foods.
To add to the affect, sleep deprivation can affect cognitive decision making and impulse control, suggesting people have a reduced ability to resist urges for the junk food they enjoy. The researchers point out about one-third of Americans don't sleep enough and three-quarters are overweight.
Researchers say the urge to overeat is complicated. Sleep, however, may play a larger role than previously thought.
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