Percentage of REM sleep is associated with overnight change in leptin

J Sleep Res. 2016 Aug;25(4):419-25. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12394. Epub 2016 Feb 26.


Sleep contributes importantly to energy homeostasis, and may impact hormones regulating appetite, such as leptin, an adipocyte-derived hormone. There is increasing evidence that sleep duration, and reduced rapid eye movement sleep, are linked to obesity. Leptin has central neural effects beyond modulation of appetite alone. As sleep is not a unifrom process, interactions between leptin and sleep stages including rapid eye movement sleep may play a role in the relationship between sleep and obesity. This study examined the relationship between serum leptin and rapid eye movement sleep in a sample of healthy adults. Participants were 58 healthy adults who underwent polysomnography. Leptin was measured before and after sleep. It was hypothesized that a lower percentage of rapid eye movement sleep would be related to lower leptin levels during sleep. The relationship between percentage of rapid eye movement sleep and leptin was analysed using hierarchical linear regression. An increased percentage of rapid eye movement sleep was related to a greater reduction in leptin during sleep even when controlling for age, gender, percent body fat and total sleep time. A greater percentage of rapid eye movement sleep was accompanied by more marked reductions in leptin. Studies examining the effects of selective rapid eye movement sleep deprivation on leptin levels, and hence on energy homeostasis in humans, are needed.

Keywords: adipokines; obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep, REM / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Leptin