Does inadequate sleep play a role in vulnerability to obesity?

Section of Pulmonary/Critical Care, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Illinois 60622, USA.
American Journal of Human Biology (Impact Factor: 1.7). 05/2012; 24(3):361-71. DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.22219
Source: PubMed


The prevalence of obesity is increasing rapidly worldwide, which is cause for concern because obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, reduces life expectancy, and impairs quality of life. A better understanding of the risk factors for obesity is therefore a critical global health concern, and human biologists can play an important role in identifying these risk factors in various populations. The objective of this review is to present the evidence that inadequate sleep may be a novel risk factor associated with increased vulnerability to obesity and associated cardiometabolic disease. Experimental studies have found that short-term sleep restriction is associated with impaired glucose metabolism, dysregulation of appetite, and increased blood pressure. Observational studies have observed cross-sectional associations between short sleep duration (generally <6 h per night) and increased body mass index or obesity, prevalent diabetes, and prevalent hypertension. Some studies also reported an association between self-reported long sleep duration (generally >8 h per night) and cardiometabolic disease. A few prospective studies have found a significant increased risk of weight gain, incident diabetes, and incident hypertension associated with inadequate sleep. Given the potential link between inadequate sleep and obesity, a critical next step is to identify the social, cultural, and environmental determinants of sleep, which would help to identify vulnerable populations. Future human biology research should consider variation in sleep characteristics among different populations and determine whether the associations between sleep and obesity observed in Western populations persist elsewhere.


Available from: Kristen L Knutson
    • "Also, epidemiologic studies consistently find that short sleep duration is associated with development of obesity in children and young adults (Nielsen et al., 2011). Although the epidemiologic evidence with regard to adults is less clear, self-reported reduction in sleep quality and duration has been associated with larger waist circumference, higher BMI and percentage of body fat as well as risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes in adults (Cappuccio et al., 2010; Knutson, 2012; Xi et al., 2013). A second possible mode of action is through a stress response with activation the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis which leads to increased levels of noradrenaline, adrenaline and corticosteroids (Babisch, 2003; Maschke et al., 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Traffic noise can act as a stressor and disturb sleep, and has been associated with cardiovascular disease. Recent studies suggest a possible association to metabolic outcomes and adiposity through biological mechanisms related to physiological stress and sleep disturbance. Objectives: We aimed to investigate the association between long-term residential traffic noise and changes in adiposity. Materials and methods: The study was based on 39,720 middle-aged Danish men and women from a cohort, with information on weight and waist circumference at two points in time. Residential exposure to traffic noise was calculated for all participants' present and historical addresses using the Nordic prediction method. The associations between traffic noise and changes in adiposity measures after a mean follow-up of 5.3 years were analyzed by linear and logistic regression with adjustments for age, sex, socioeconomic position and lifestyle factors in three models with increasing adjustment. Results: In linear models adjusted for sex, age, socioeconomic position and competing noise sources we found road traffic noise to be significantly associated with small gains in both weight and waist circumference. For example, time-weighted mean exposure 5-years preceding follow-up was associated with a yearly weight gain of 15.4g (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.14; 28.7) and a yearly increase in waist circumference of 0.22mm (95% CI: 0.018; 0.43) per 10dB. Similarly, in Poisson regression models we found an 10% increased risk for gaining more than 5kg body weight during follow-up (95% CI: 1.04; 1.15) per 10dB higher 5 years exposure preceding follow-up. Exposure to railway noise above 55dB was associated with weight gain (39.9g/year (95% CI: 10.2; 69.6)), but not with a significant change in waist circumference. We found baseline BMI (p<0.001) and waist circumference (p=0.001) to be significant effect modifiers for the association between road traffic noise and waist circumference, with gain in waist circumference only among the obese (BMI≥30) participants (1.20mm/year (95% CI: 0.68; 1.72)) and participants with a large waist circumference (0.83mm/year (95% CI: 0.42; 1.23)). Conclusion: The findings supports previous studies suggesting that traffic noise may be associated with development of adiposity. However, the potential effects are small and suggest an effect mainly among obese participants.
    Environmental Research 10/2015; 143(Pt A):154-161. DOI:10.1016/j.envres.2015.10.007 · 4.37 Impact Factor
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    • "There might not be a direct relationship between parenting style and sleep duration, as behavior of children in their bedrooms is often out of sight of the parents. Perhaps features in the child's home environment offer a better explanation, such as temperature, light or noise (Knutson 2012). Therefore, further investigation into the association between sleep duration and migrant background and insight into factors affecting the sleep duration and sleep quality are needed. "
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    ABSTRACT: To explore whether primary school children of migrant and native Dutch origins differ regarding their sleep duration per night, a risk for overweight and obesity, and to determine to what degree differences in parenting styles contribute to these differences. A cross-sectional survey, including 1,943 children aged 8-9 years old and their primary caregivers, was performed. Data were collected from primary schools in cities and adjacent municipalities in The Netherlands: Eindhoven and Rotterdam. The outcome measure was mean sleep duration per night. The main independent variable was migrant background, based on the country of birth of the parents. A possible mediating variable was parenting style (rejecting, neglecting, permissive, authoritarian, authoritative). Age and sex of the child as well as parental socioeconomic status, as indicated by educational level, were added as confounders. Dutch children have the highest sleep duration: more than 11 h (mean = 670.1; SD = 27.7). All migrant children show less than 11 h of sleep per night. Migrant children of non-Western origin, especially Turkish and Moroccan children, show the lowest sleep duration per night. Parenting styles do not contribute to these differences. Migrant background is associated with sleep duration. As children of migrant origin are, in general, at higher risk for overweight and obesity and sleep duration is regarded as a risk factor for overweight and obesity, further investigation of this association is needed.
    06/2015; 23(3). DOI:10.1007/s10389-015-0665-8
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    • "Speculatively, short sleep durations may be implicated in the aetiology of obesity. Supporting this theory, laboratory studies in adults have shown that restricted sleep deregulates endocrine secretions , causing decreased leptin and increased ghrelin, which may predispose to obesity through increased energy intake [12]. Physical activity, sedentary time, and depression have also been proposed as mediating factors [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate whether objectively measured sedentary time and sleep duration are associated with changes in adiposity from mid- to late adolescence. Students (n = 504, 42% boys) were recruited from schools in Cambridgeshire, UK. At baseline (mean age 15.0 ± 0.3 years), sedentary time was objectively measured by ≥3 days of combined heart rate and movement sensing. Concurrently, sleep duration was measured by combined sensing in conjunction with self-reported bed times. Fat mass index (FMI; kg/m(2)) was estimated at baseline and follow-up (17.5 ± 0.3 years) by anthropometry and bioelectrical impedance. FMI change (ΔFMI) was calculated by subtracting the baseline from follow-up values. Linear regression models adjusted for basic demographics, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and depressive symptoms were used to investigate associations of sedentary time and sleep duration (mutually adjusted for one another) with ΔFMI. FMI increased by 0.5 and 0.6 kg/m(2) in boys and girls, respectively, but there was no association between sedentary time and ΔFMI in either gender (p ≥ 0.087), and no association between sleep duration and ΔFMI in girls (p ≥ 0.61). In boys, each additional hour of baseline sleep significantly reduced the ΔFMI by 0.13 kg/m(2) (p = 0.049), but there was little evidence for this association after adjusting for MVPA and depressive symptoms (p = 0.15). Sedentary time may not determine changes in adiposity from mid- to late adolescence, nor may sleep duration in girls. However, sleep length may be inversely associated with adiposity gain in boys, depending on whether the relationship is confounded or mediated by MVPA and depression. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Sleep Medicine 03/2015; 16(6). DOI:10.1016/j.sleep.2015.02.532 · 3.15 Impact Factor
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