Sleep Deprivation Is Like Pot, But Not in a Gets-You-High Way

Sober but exhausted? You might start making some odd food choices...

According to a study authored by Erin Hanlon from the University of Chicago, there is a correlation between eating poorly and getting enough sleep. It seems there isn't much difference in appetite between someone up at 4 a.m. cramming for finals and a stoner frolicking through the angelic fluorescence of a 7-Eleven. From KTLA:

Hanlon’s study, published in the journal Sleep, compared 14 otherwise healthy young adults who had four nights of normal sleep (8.5 hours) with those with four nights of restricted sleep (4.5 hours). Both groups were provided with carefully prepared meals. On the final day, participants were given a healthy meal, followed by free rein at a snack bar containing tasty treats including cookies, candy and chips (what researchers dubbed “highly palatable, rewarding snacks”). Those in the sleep-deprived group tended to eat snacks with more carbohydrates and nearly twice as much fat and protein.

Why does it happen? The researchers had found that sleep deprivation affects the same chemicals in the brain that are tasked with regulating your appetite. Those chemicals are called endocannabinoids, and they bind to the same receptors as marijuana. 

Makes sense to me, seeing as how stoners and insomniacs often suffer the same symptoms: Unhealthy appetite, couch lock, an affinity for shitty infomercials, talking to one's self, perceiving a slowing of time, deep existential panic, and the classic dazed and glazed look shimmering from their red, tired eyes.