A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of the impact of sleep duration on adiposity and components of energy balance

Obes Rev. 2015 Sep;16(9):771-82. doi: 10.1111/obr.12296. Epub 2015 Jun 22.


Recent epidemiological and ecological trends in humans indicate a possible causal relationship between sleep duration and energy balance. We aimed to find experimental evidence that has tested this relationship between sleep duration and measures of body composition, food intake or biomarkers related to food intake. We conducted a systematic literature review using six databases throughout 7 August 2014. We sought reports of randomized controlled trials where sleep duration was manipulated and measured outcomes were body weight or other body composition metrics, food intake, and/or biomarkers related to eating. We found 18 unique studies meeting all criteria: eight studies with an outcome of body weight (4 - increased sleep, 4 - reduced sleep); four studies on food intake; four studies of sleep restriction on total energy expenditure and three of respiratory quotient; and four studies on leptin and/or ghrelin. Few controlled experimental studies have addressed the question of the effect of sleep on body weight/composition and eating. The available experimental literature suggests that sleep restriction increases food intake and total energy expenditure with inconsistent effects on integrated energy balance as operationalized by weight change. Future controlled trials that examine the impact of increased sleep on body weight/energy balance factors are warranted.

Keywords: Obesity; sleep; total energy expenditure; weight.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Sleep Deprivation / metabolism*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology
  • Weight Gain


  • Leptin