Changes in sleep architecture increase hunger, eating

October 22, 2012, American Physiological Society

A new study shows that both length of time and percentage of overall sleep spent in different sleep stages are associated with decreased metabolic rate, increased hunger, and increased intake of calories (specifically from fat and carbohydrates). The findings suggest an explanation for the association between sleep problems and obesity.

Researchers from St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and Columbia University investigated the effects of sleep architecture on hunger to determine whether specific stages of sleep, rather than simple duration, would affect changes in appetite and food desires in healthy adults.

The article is entitled "Alterations in sleep architecture in response to experimental sleep curtailment are associated with signs of positive " (http://bit.ly/S69LsW). It appears in the online edition of the – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology published by the .

Methodology

Researcher Ari Shechter and colleagues designed a laboratory-based, randomized crossover study of 27 healthy adults between the ages of 30 and 45. Participants underwent two six-day periods of laboratory observation—a "habitual sleep" phase, during which they were allowed nine hours to sleep, and a "short sleep" phase, during which they were allowed four hours to sleep. Each phase was separated by four weeks to ensure full recuperation from the short sleep condition and to ensure that women were observed at the same phase of their menstrual cycle under each condition. Sleep duration and composition were assessed using polysomnographic recording. The amount of time spent in each sleep phase—stage 1, stage 2, (or SWS—stage 3 and 4 combined) and REM sleep— was determined and expressed in minutes and as a percentage of total sleep time.

For the first four days in both phases, participants ate meals calibrated to meet their for weight maintenance. On day four, participants were asked to rate their hunger and level of desire for different foods. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) was measured in the fasted state on day five, and participants were then allowed to select their own foods for the final two days. Researchers compared participants' sleep architecture in the short sleep and habitual sleep condition, and analyzed the relationships between their sleep architecture, RMR, food intake and appetite-satiety ratings.

Results

Shechter and colleagues found that, compared to habitual sleep length, the short sleep condition resulted in reductions in the duration and percentage of stage 2 and REM sleep and increased the percentage of total sleep time spent in SWS. Some of these changes were related to decreased RMR, increased feelings of hunger, and increased intake of calories, fat, and carbohydrate. Specifically, there was a positive association between stage 2 sleep duration and RMR, and an inverse relation between stage 2 sleep percentage and calories consumed—i.e., the less stage 2 sleep, the lower RMR and more calories consumed. There was an inverse relationship between REM sleep duration and hunger, and an inverse relationship between the amount of stage 2 sleep and desire for sweet and salty food. Reduced percentage of spent in , as well as SWS, was also associated with greater fat and carbohydrate intake.

Importance of the Findings

The results reinforce that is important, but show that the composition of sleep—the time and percentage of overall sleep spent in each stage— is also playing an important role in the relationship between sleep and obesity. "Any number of various factors like obstructive sleep apnea, certain drugs/medications, chronic exposure to duration, shift work, jet lag, and changes in the scheduling of the sleep episode, can affect stage quantity and distribution," said Shechter. "Our data may provide an explanation for the greater obesity prevalence observed within some of these conditions."

Explore further: Don't lose sleep over weight, scientists say

Related Stories

Don't lose sleep over weight, scientists say

May 10, 2012
A lack of sleep could make you fat, scientists said on Thursday.

Brain scans show specific neuronal response to junk food when sleep-restricted

June 10, 2012
The sight of unhealthy food during a period of sleep restriction activated reward centers in the brain that were less active when participants had adequate sleep, according to a new study using brain scans to better understand ...

Lack of sleep leads to insulin resistance in teens

September 29, 2012
A new study suggests that increasing the amount of sleep that teenagers get could improve their insulin resistance and prevent the future onset of diabetes.

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.