While it’s not strictly marijuana news…we thought we’d be clear about that before anyone else pointed it out for us…it’s nonetheless a story we thought our readers might be interested in. Apparently, those trademark munchies we all know so well that follow a stellar smoking session are not in fact limited only to those who use cannabis. In fact, scientists have suggested that those who do not get sufficient sleep may in fact find themselves with exactly the same cravings and proclivities for pigging out as those who are well and truly stoned.
It was a team of researchers from the United States that made the discovery, having found that insufficient sleep has pretty much the same effect on the brain as cannabis when it comes to sparking insatiable hunger and cravings for snacks and foods that aren’t exactly the healthiest. Suffice to say, it’s the kind of news that’s likely to go down well with 24-hour convenience store owners already having their profits bolstered by the cannabis crowd.
In order to investigate the alleged link, the researchers examined exactly how otherwise healthy volunteers behaved in terms of their food cravings and choices, in relation to how much sleep they had. When deprived of sleep, they were found to instinctively make a beeline for higher calorie snacks about twice as much as the choices they made when they’d slept well.
What’s more, University of Chicago researcher Erin Hanlon said that just like millions of stoners the world over, those who haven’t had enough sleep were also more inclined to continue pigging out despite the fact that they are clearly full. Why did they bother looking into the phenomenon in the first place? Well, it all comes down to the fact that scientists in general firmly believe that obesity risk is directly linked to sleep patterns in a wide variety of ways. Obesity and troubled sleep are known to be interconnected in both directions – this was however the first study that focused on the way in which insufficient sleep can apparently trigger the marijuana munchies.
Exploring the idea for himself, Hanlon invited a small group of 14 women and men to undergo a series of tests over two sessions, each of which lasted for four days. In one instance they were given approximately 4 hours sleep every night, while in the next instance they slept for 7.5 the hours on average. They were given exactly the same amount of food at exactly the same time each day, though after the fourth day were offered various snacks and drinks they can choose from themselves.
The results were pretty conclusive – pretty much every single person who sleept less dove headfirst into the kinds of unhealthy snacks even they admitted they wouldn’t normally choose first. Even though they had eaten a large meal 2 hours earlier, they still indulged and indeed overindulged in what was offered to them. By contrast, when they had plenty sleep, they made much healthier choices.
“We know that marijuana activates the endocannabinoid system and causes people to overeat when they are not hungry, and they normally eat yummy sweet and fatty foods,” Hanlon said.
“Sleep restriction may cause overeating by acting in the same manner.”
Far from just an interesting finding, the researchers reckon that it could be extremely significant in bringing about new and effective preventative measures and treatments for obesity. As for cannabis users on the other hand…well, dealing with the munchies is really just something that comes with the territory and most likely something that you wouldn’t want to get rid of any way.
After all, get it right with a stocked kitchen at the time and it can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the evening by far!