Sleep a little longer to reduce overeating

Sleep

Increasing the amount of sleep that adults get could lead to reduced food intake, according to a new study.

It also revealed that short sleep affects hunger differently in men and women.

"Restricting sleep in healthy, normal weight participants has limited effects on metabolic risk factors and may affect food intake regulating hormones differently in men and women," said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, FAHA, the study's principal investigator.

"We were surprised by the lack of a significant effect of sleep on glucose and insulin, leptin, and sex differences in the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin and the satiety hormone GLP-1," she stated.

The study tracked the sleep duration, glucose dysregulation, and hormonal regulation of appetite in 27 normal weight, 30- to 45-year-old men and women.

Participants provided fasting blood draws, and they were studied under two sleep conditions: Short (4 hours) or habitual (9 hours). Short sleep increased total ghrelin levels in men but not in women and reduced GLP-1 levels in women but not in men, a sex difference that has not been reported before.

The results suggest that the common susceptibility to overeat during short sleep is related to increased appetite in men and reduced feelings of fullness in women.

"Our results point to the complexity of the relationship between sleep duration and energy balance regulation. The state of energy balance, whether someone is in a period of weight loss or weight gain, may be critical in the metabolic and hormonal responses to sleep restriction," St-Onge said.

This is the largest controlled clinical investigation of the effects of sleep reduction on hormonal regulation of food intake. The results support a causal role of sleep duration on energy intake and weight control, the researchers concluded.

The finding will appear in the November issue of the journal SLEEP.

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