Short Sleep May be a Newly Identified Modifiable Risk Factor for Obesity

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that short sleep duration may be a newly identified modifiable risk factor for obesity.

Experimental evidence investigating the effects of sleep deprivation on insulin resistance, glucose levels, appetite hormone dysregulation, and weight gain has indicated that poor sleep is potentially detrimental to overall health.

image credit: Mariah Aro Sharp @mightymooseart

The aim of this research was to assess the feasibility of sleep extension (SE) by using a behavioral change approach through sleep hygiene under free-living conditions in healthy adults who are habitually short sleepers. If it was shown to be feasible to extend sleep duration in this population, it was hypothesized that SE would lead to changes in secondary outcome measures that are conducive to weight maintenance.  To test this hypothesis, the secondary aim of the study was to conduct a pilot investigation on the effects of SE on dietary intake and indicators of energy balance.

The study results show that short sleepers were able to extend their sleep through personalized behavior modification. Sleep extension led to reduced free sugar intakes and may be a viable strategy that helps to limit excessive sugar consumption in an obesity-promoting environment.