Impact of Sleep Restriction on Metabolic Outcomes Induced by Overfeeding: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Healthy Individuals

Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Jan 1;109(1):17-28. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy215.


Background: Overconsumption of energy-dense foods and sleep restriction are both associated with the development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, but their combined effects remain poorly evaluated.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess whether sleep restriction potentiates the effects of a short-term overfeeding on intrahepatocellular lipid (IHCL) concentrations and on glucose homeostasis.

Design: Ten healthy subjects were exposed to a 6-d overfeeding period (130% daily energy needs, with 15% extra energy as sucrose and 15% as fat), with normal sleep (8 h sleep opportunity time) or sleep restriction (4 h sleep opportunity time), according to a randomized, crossover design. At baseline and after intervention, IHCL concentrations were measured by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and a dual intravenous [6,6-2H2]-, oral 13C-labeled glucose tolerance test and a polysomnographic recording were performed.

Results: Overfeeding significantly increased IHCL concentrations (Poverfeeding < 0.001; overfeeding + normal sleep: +53% ± 16%). During the oral glucose tolerance test, overfeeding significantly increased endogenous glucose production (Poverfeeding = 0.034) and the oxidation of 13C-labeled glucose load (Poverfeeding = 0.038). Sleep restriction significantly decreased total sleep time, and the duration of stages 1 and 2 and rapid eye movement sleep (all P < 0.001), whereas slow-wave sleep duration was preserved (Poverfeeding × sleep = 0.809). Compared with overfeeding, overfeeding + sleep restriction did not change IHCL concentrations (Poverfeeding × sleep = 0.541; +83% ± 33%), endogenous glucose production (Poverfeeding × sleep = 0.567), or exogenous glucose oxidation (Poverfeeding × sleep = 0.118). Sleep restriction did not significantly alter blood pressure, heart rate, or plasma cortisol concentrations (all Poverfeeding × sleep = NS).

Conclusions: Six days of a high-sucrose, high-fat overfeeding diet significantly increased IHCL concentrations and increased endogenous glucose production, suggesting hepatic insulin resistance. These effects of overfeeding were not altered by sleep restriction. This trial was registered at as NCT02075723. Other study ID numbers: SleepDep 02/14.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Overnutrition / complications
  • Overnutrition / metabolism*
  • Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Sleep Deprivation / metabolism*
  • Weight Gain
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Lipids

Associated data