Short sleep duration, glucose dysregulation and hormonal regulation of appetite in men and women

Sleep. 2012 Nov 1;35(11):1503-10. doi: 10.5665/sleep.2198.


Study objective: To determine the hormonal effects of reducing sleep duration under controlled feeding conditions.

Design: Randomized, crossover study.

Setting: Inpatient.

Participants: Twenty-seven normal weight, 30- to 45-yr-old men and women habitually sleeping 7-9 hr/night.

Intervention: PARTICIPANTS WERE STUDIED UNDER TWO SLEEP CONDITIONS: short (4 hr in bed) or habitual (9 hr in bed) sleep. A controlled diet was provided for each 4-day study period.

Measurements and results: Fasting blood samples were obtained daily and frequent blood samples were obtained throughout day 4. The main outcomes measures included glucose, insulin, leptin, ghrelin, adiponectin, total glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY(3-36) (PYY(3-36)) concentrations. Body weights were reduced by 2.2 ± 0.4 lb and 1.7 ± 0.4 lb during the habitual and short sleep phases, respectively (both P < 0.0001). There was no effect of sleep duration on glucose, insulin, and leptin profiles (all P > 0.05). Ghrelin and GLP-1 responses differed by sex. Short sleep increased fasting (P = 0.054) and morning (08:00-12:00) (P = 0.042) total ghrelin in men but not women. The reverse was observed for GLP-1: afternoon levels (12:30-19:00) were lower (P = 0.016) after short sleep compared with habitual sleep in women but not men.

Conclusions: These data suggest that, in the context of negative energy balance, short sleep does not lead to a state of increased insulin resistance, but may predispose to overeating via separate mechanisms in men and women.

Clinical trial information: Trial registration on #NCT00935402.

Keywords: Ghrelin; hormonal regulation; leptin; sleep.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose*
  • Body Weight
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Ghrelin / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep Deprivation / blood*


  • Adiponectin
  • Blood Glucose
  • Ghrelin
  • Insulin
  • Leptin

Associated data