Changes in Children's Sleep Duration on Food Intake, Weight, and Leptin

Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 11/2013; 132(6). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-1274
Source: PubMed


To examine the effect of experimental changes in children's sleep duration on self-reported food intake, food reinforcement, appetite-regulating hormones, and measured weight.

Using a within-subjects, counterbalanced, crossover design, 37 children, 8 to 11 years of age (27% overweight/obese) completed a 3-week study. Children slept their typical amount at home for 1 week and were then randomized to either increase or decrease their time in bed by 1.5 hours per night for 1 week, completing the alternate schedule on the third week. Primary outcomes were dietary intake as assessed by 24-hour dietary recalls, food reinforcement (ie, points earned for a food reward), and fasting leptin and ghrelin. The secondary outcome was child weight.

Participants achieved a 2 hour, 21 minute difference in the actigraph defined sleep period time between the increase and decrease sleep conditions (P < .001). Compared with the decrease sleep condition, during the increase condition, children reported consuming an average of 134 kcal/day less (P < .05), and exhibited lower fasting morning leptin values (P < .05). Measured weights were 0.22 kg lower during the increase sleep than the decrease sleep condition (P < .001). There were no differences in food reinforcement or in fasting ghrelin.

Compared with decreased sleep, increased sleep duration in school-age children resulted in lower reported food intake, lower fasting leptin levels, and lower weight. The potential role of sleep duration in pediatric obesity prevention and treatment warrants further study.

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