(HealthDay News) – Sleep deprivation is associated with an increase in caloric intake, with no change in activity energy expenditure.

Andrew D. Calvin, MD, MPH, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues studied 17 healthy individuals, aged 18–40 years, to investigate whether eight days of modest sleep restriction affected leptin, ghrelin, caloric intake, and activity energy expenditure. Participants completed one week of home actigraphy and a three-night acclimation phase, and were then randomly allocated to eight nights of ad lib sleep (controls; nine individuals) or two-thirds of their normal sleep time (sleep deprivation; eight individuals).

The researchers found that, during the acclimation phase, sleep duration averaged 6.5 hours per day and was reduced to an average of 5.2 hours per day for those in the sleep deprivation group. The caloric intake in the sleep deprivation group was significantly higher than that in the ad lib sleep group (+549 ± 583kcal per day vs −143 ± 420kcal per day; P<0.01). There was no change in activity energy expenditure in either group (P=0.68). In the sleep deprivation group, there was a trend toward increased leptin and decreased ghrelin (P=0.12 and 0.38, respectively).

“Our data suggest that chronic sleep restriction may be an important and modifiable behavior promoting obesity,” the authors write.

One of the authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and health care industries.

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