[Importance of sleep and circadian rhythm for energy metabolism]

Internist (Berl). 2019 Feb;60(2):122-127. doi: 10.1007/s00108-018-0543-x.
[Article in German]


The circadian clock is a complex and highly specialized network of the human organism and is key for metabolic health. Circadian rhythms are modulated by behavioral patterns, physical activity, food intake as well as sleep loss and sleep disorders. Furthermore, an altered expression of clock genes (e. g. PERIOD1 and 2) can alter circadian rhythms. Chronodisruption, i. e. the alteration of circadian rhythms, is associated with a variety of mental and physical illnesses. Recent studies show a significant association between quantitative and qualitative sleep rhythm disturbances and an increasing prevalence of obesity. Furthermore, reduced sleep quality and duration lead to decreased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, thus increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition to the core components of the metabolic syndrome, there are also changes in hormonal and neuronal signaling pathways impinging on human energy metabolism. This review provides an overview of the current literature highlighting the close link between circadian rhythms and human energy metabolism.

Keywords: Chronobiology; Circadian Rhythm; Diabetes mellitus; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronobiology Disorders / complications
  • Chronobiology Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology