Effects of poor and short sleep on glucose metabolism and obesity risk

Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2009 May;5(5):253-61. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2009.23.


The importance of sleep to hormones and glucose metabolism was first documented more than four decades ago. Since then, sleep curtailment has become an endemic behavior in modern society. In addition, the prevalence of sleep disorders, particularly obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), has increased. OSA is very common in endocrine and metabolic disorders, but often remains undiagnosed. This Review summarizes the laboratory and epidemiologic evidence that suggests how sleep loss, either behavioral or disease-related, and poor quality of sleep might promote the development of obesity and diabetes mellitus, and exacerbate existing endocrine conditions. Treatment of sleep disorders has the potential to improve glucose metabolism and energy balance. Screening for habitual sleep patterns and OSA might be critically important for patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Energy Metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology*


  • Glucose