Skimp on sleep and you mess with your hunger hormones: ghrelin surges, leaving you feeling hungry, and leptin (which helps you feel full) sinks. Sleep loss also appears to boost blood levels of a chemical that makes eating more pleasurable – similar, believe it or not, to the effects of marijuana, according to a small, recent study from the University of Chicago. Participants who slept only about four hours at night (instead of a healthier 7.5 hours) couldn’t resist what the researchers called ‘highly palatable, rewarding foods fit for the munchies, like cookies, candy, and chips – even though they had a big meal two hours before. Your goal, starting tonight: seven to nine hours of shut-eye.
Not getting enough sleep? Here are some surprising things that could explain your sleep woes.