The Role of Sleep in the Control of Food Intake

Am J Lifestyle Med. 2014 Nov 1;8(6):371-374. doi: 10.1177/1559827614545315. Epub 2014 Aug 6.


Short sleep duration is increasingly recognized as a risk factor for obesity. Sleep is now considered 1 of the 3 lifestyle behaviors, along with diet and exercise, which are closely associated with health. If sleep duration is a causal factor in the etiology of obesity, it must affect energy intake and/or energy expenditure to create a positive energy balance. The preponderance of evidence to date points to an effect of sleep restriction on energy intake that exceeds the added energy costs of maintaining longer wakefulness. Observational studies describe greater intakes of energy, fat, and possibly carbohydrates in short sleepers and this is corroborated by clinical interventions. These intervention studies further provide mechanistic explanations, via alterations in hormonal and neuronal controls of food intake, for an association between short sleep and obesity.

Keywords: energy intake; obesity; sleep duration.