Purpose of Review: To discuss the benefits of having a good night's sleep for body weight stability.
Recent Findings: Experimental studies have shown that short-term partial sleep restriction:
• Decreases glucose tolerance,
• Increases sympathetic tone [blood vessel constriction],
• Elevates cortisol concentrations,
• Decreases the satiety hormone leptin,
• Increases the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin,
• And increases hunger and appetite.
Short sleep duration might increase the risk of becoming obese, because it does not allow the recovery of a hormonal profile facilitating appetite control.
Lack of sleep could also lead to weight gain and obesity by increasing the time available for eating and by making the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle more difficult.
Furthermore, the increased fatigue and tiredness associated with sleeping too little could lessen one's resolve to follow exercise regimens.
Summary: Short sleep duration appears to be a novel and independent risk factor for obesity. With the growing prevalence of chronic sleep restriction, any causal association between reduced sleep and obesity would have substantial importance from a public health standpoint.
Future research is needed to determine whether sleep extension in sleep-deprived obese individuals will influence appetite control and/or reduce the amount of body fat.
Source: Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, Sep 4, 2010. PMID 20823775, by Chaput JP, Klingenberg L, sjodin A. Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark