Study Title:

Effects of Experimental Sleep Restriction on Weight Gain, Caloric Intake, and Meal Timing

Study Abstract

Examine sleep restriction's effects on weight gain, daily caloric intake, and meal timing.
Repeated-measures experiments assessing body weight at admittance and discharge in all subjects (N = 225) and caloric intake and meal timing across days following 2 baseline nights, 5 sleep restriction nights and 2 recovery nights or across days following control condition nights in a subset of subjects (n = 37).
Controlled laboratory environment.
Two hundred twenty-five healthy adults aged 22-50 y (n = 198 sleep-restricted subjects; n = 31 with caloric intake data; n = 27 control subjects; n = 6 with caloric intake data).
Approximately 8-to-1 randomization to an experimental condition (including five consecutive nights of 4 h time in bed [TIB]/night, 04:00-08:00) or to a control condition (all nights 10 h TIB/night, 22:00-08:00).
Sleep-restricted subjects gained more weight (0.97 ± 1.4 kg) than control subjects (0.11 ± 1.9 kg; d = 0.51, P = 0.007). Among sleep-restricted subjects, African Americans gained more weight than Caucasians (d = 0.37, P = 0.003) and males gained more weight than females (d = 0.38, P = 0.004). Sleep-restricted subjects consumed extra calories (130.0 ± 43.0% of daily caloric requirement) during days with a delayed bedtime (04:00) compared with control subjects who did not consume extra calories (100.6 ± 11.4%; d = 0.94, P = 0.003) during corresponding days. In sleep-restricted subjects, increased daily caloric intake was due to more meals and the consumption of 552.9 ± 265.8 additional calories between 22:00-03:59. The percentage of calories derived from fat was greater during late-night hours (22:00-03:59, 33.0 ± 0.08%) compared to daytime (08:00-14:59, 28.2 ± 0.05%) and evening hours (15:00-21:59, 29.4 ± 0.06%; Ps < 0.05).
In the largest, most diverse healthy sample studied to date under controlled laboratory conditions, sleep restriction promoted weight gain. Chronically sleep-restricted adults with late bedtimes may be more susceptible to weight gain due to greater daily caloric intake and the consumption of calories during late-night hours.

Study Information

Spaeth AM, Dinges DF, Goel N.
Effects of Experimental Sleep Restriction on Weight Gain, Caloric Intake, and Meal Timing in Healthy Adults.
2013 July
Department of Psychology, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

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