Sleep duration and circulating adipokine levels

Sleep. 2011 Feb 1;34(2):147-52. doi: 10.1093/sleep/34.2.147.


Introduction: Short sleep duration is associated with systemic inflammation and diabetes; however the mechanisms by which reduced sleep leads to these complications are unclear. One possibility is sleep may impact secretion of adipocyte derived hormones that regulate inflammation and insulin resistance. In this study we assessed the association between sleep duration and 3 adipokine levels.

Methods: A total of 561 adults from the Cleveland Family Study underwent standardized laboratory polysomnography followed by a morning fasting blood draw assayed for leptin, visfatin, and retinol binding protein-4 (RBP4) levels.

Results: The cohort had an age of 44.5 (16.1) years and total sleep time (TST) of 6.2 (1.3) hours (mean [SD]). Each hour reduction in TST was associated with a 10% increase in leptin (P = 0.01) and a 14% increase in visfatin levels (P = 0.03) in analyses adjusted for age, gender, and race. After additional adjustment for obesity, sleep apnea severity, hypertension, and diabetes, each hour reduction in TST was associated with a 6% increase in leptin (P = 0.01) and a 14% increase in visfatin levels (P = 0.02). Leptin increased by 15% (P = 0.01) and visfatin increased by 31% (P = 0.05) for every 1-h decrease in REM sleep. In contrast, no association between sleep duration and RBP4 was found.

Conclusions: Reduced sleep and reduced REM sleep are associated with elevations in leptin and visfatin, 2 adipokines associated with inflammation and insulin resistance. Further investigation of the effect of sleep on adipose tissue function should be pursued.

Keywords: Sleep duration; adipokine; adipose tissue; insulin resistance; leptin; obesity; retinol binding protein-4; visfatin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / blood*
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase / blood
  • Polysomnography
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma / metabolism
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Adipokines
  • Leptin
  • RBP4 protein, human
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase