It turns out sleep deprivation and marijuana have more in common than just making you feel burnt out.
A new study published in the aptly-named journal Sleep has found that not getting enough Zs at night can give you a bad case of the munchies the next day, much like the food cravings people can get from smoking a joint. The reason for this is because a lack of sleep can mess with your brain chemistry much in the same way marijuana does.
Before we go any further though, we’re sorry in advance for all the science words we’re about to break out.
The phenomenon is linked to something called 2-Arachidonoylglycerol, (which we’ll refer to as 2AG). It’s an endocannabinoid, which means it interacts with the same receptors in the brain as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana). So when someone consumes marijuana, they get hungry partially because THC is messing with their brain’s cannabinoid receptors. When someone doesn’t get enough sleep, they also get food cravings because 2AG affects and interacts with those same areas.
To make these findings, researchers had participants sleep in a controlled setting for roughly eight hours a night for four days and observed their eating habits. Sleep was then cut down to 4.5 hours for the following four days.
What researchers found is that even after the sleep-deprived participants had a full meal, they would still complain of cravings for things like chips, sweets and biscuits. So make sure to get your eight hours in every night, because healthy eating is already hard enough as it is.
For more information on the study, check out the video above.