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Study Pinpoints Biochemical Reason Why Insufficient Sleep Can Lead To Weight Gain

June 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Getting too little sleep at night increases the blood levels of an endocannabinoid molecule that stimulates the appetite, a U.S. study finds. Researchers tested the effects of less sleep and normal sleep on nine healthy men (average age 23 years). Participants who slept only 4.5 hours had a higher daytime level of the molecule (2AG) in the blood; those who slept 8.5 hours had lower levels of the molecule. The study provides a biochemical reason why insufficient sleep has been associated in previous studies with increased appetite and weight gain.
Erin Hanlon et al., "Too Little Sleep May Trigger the Munchies by Raising Levels of an Appetite-Controlling Molecule", News release, presentation at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013, © Hanlon et al.
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