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Lack of Sleep Stokes Your Appetite Just Like Marijuana Might

May 4th, 2016

New study reveals additional way in which sleep deprivation causes obesity.

As men get older, they often start having trouble sleeping and also accumulate a spare tire around their middles. It turns out, these two common signs of male aging are linked: lack of sleep affects appetite, causing you to take in more calories. Since your aging body is already prone to packing on the pounds due to hormonal changes, poor sleep can have a significant impact on your weight and your health.

Sleep and Appetite Hormones

The primary way that sleep deprivation causes weight gain is by messing with the hormones that control feelings of hunger and fullness. According to a landmark study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, getting only 4 hours of sleep two nights in a row caused study participants to experience an 18 percent decrease in leptin—the hormone that signals fullness—and a 28 percent increase in ghrelin—the hormone that signals hunger. Study participants reported an increase in their cravings for sweets, salty foods like chips and nuts, and starchy foods like bread and pasta.

Bottom line: study participants slept poorly, then woke up craving foods that could make them fat.

New Study Shows Sleep Deprivation Can Cause “the Munchies”

A new study published this month in the journal SLEEP identifies an additional mechanism by which poor sleep can contribute to obesity: activation of the endocannabinoid system. Because endocannabinoids bind to the same receptors in the brain as marijuana, activation of the endocannabinoid system can trigger a desire for food that feels very similar to “the munchies” many people experience after using marijuana.

In this study, researchers found that individuals who slept just 4.5 hours per night for four nights showed higher levels of endocannabinoids in their blood compared to individuals who slept 8.5 hours per night. The sleep-deprived individuals also reported increased hunger and appetite and had less willpower to turn down snacks when offered.

Trying to Lose Weight? Fix Your Sleep Habits—and Your Hormones

As you can see, healthy sleep is going to be essential for the success of any weight loss efforts you may undertake. If adjusting your habits by going to bed earlier, avoiding watching TV or using smartphones or tablets before bed, and maintaining a cool, dark, quiet environment for sleep don’t help you achieve 7-8 hours of restful, high-quality sleep per night, don’t give up. Renew Man™ can help you enjoy healthier sleep patterns by bringing your hormones back into a more youthful balance with testosterone replacement therapy and other safe and effective treatments. These treatments will also help support your body’s ability to shed fat and build lean muscle. To learn more, contact us at 800-859-7511 today.

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