Long sleep duration predicts a higher risk of obesity in adults: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies

J Public Health (Oxf). 2019 Jun 1;41(2):e158-e168. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdy135.


Background: The connections between long sleep duration and obesity or weight gain warrant further examination. This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate whether long sleep duration was associated with the risk of obesity, weight gain, body mass index (BMI) change or weight change in adults.

Methods: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Elsevier Science Direct, Science Online, MEDLINE and CINAHL were searched for English articles published before May 2017. A total of 16 cohort studies (n = 329 888 participants) from 8 countries were included in the analysis. Pooled relative risks (RR) or regression coefficients (β) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated. Heterogeneity and publication bias were tested, and sensitivity analysis was also performed.

Results: We found that long sleep duration was associated with higher risk of obesity (RR [95% CI] = 1.04 [1.00-1.09], P = 0.037), but had no significant associations with weight gain, BMI change or weight change. Long sleep duration increased the risk of weight gain in three situations: among men, in studies with <5 years follow-up, and when sleep duration was 9 or more hours.

Conclusions: Long sleep duration was associated with risk of obesity in adults. More cohort studies with objective measures are needed to confirm this relationship.

Keywords: adults; long sleep duration; meta-analysis; obesity; prospective cohort study.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • Time Factors