Study objectives: To examine the effects of moderate sleep restriction (SR) on body weight, body composition, and metabolic variables in individuals undergoing caloric restriction (CR).
Methods: Overweight or obese adults were randomized to an 8 week caloric restriction (CR) regimen alone (n = 15) or combined with sleep restriction (CR + SR) (n = 21). All participants were instructed to restrict daily calorie intake to 95 per cent of their measured resting metabolic rate. Participants in the CR + SR group were also instructed to reduce time in bed on five nights and to sleep ad libitum on the other two nights each week.
Results: The CR + SR group reduced sleep by 57 ± 36 min per day during SR days and increased sleep by 59 ± 38 min per day during ad libitum sleep days, resulting in a sleep reduction of 169 ± 75 min per week. The CR and CR + SR groups lost similar amounts of weight, lean mass, and fat mass. However, the proportion of total mass lost as fat was significantly greater (p = 0.016) in the CR group. This proportion was greater than body fat percentage at baseline for the CR (p = 0.0035), but not the CR + SR group. Resting respiratory quotient was reduced (p = 0.033) only in CR, and fasting leptin concentration was reduced only in CR + SR (p = 0.029).
Conclusions: Approximately 1 hr of SR on five nights a week led to less proportion of fat mass loss in individuals undergoing hypocaloric weight loss, despite similar weight loss. SR may adversely affect changes in body composition and "catch-up" sleep may not completely reverse it.
Clinical trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02413866).