Sleep Extension: A Potential Target for Obesity Treatment

Curr Diab Rep. 2020 Dec 4;20(12):81. doi: 10.1007/s11892-020-01360-6.


Purpose of review: Sleep and obesity share a bidirectional relationship, and weight loss has been shown to enhance sleep. Aiming to extend sleep on its own or as part of a lifestyle intervention may attenuate health consequences of short sleep. This review highlights several sleep extension approaches, discusses feasibility of each, and summarizes findings relevant to obesity.

Recent findings: Sleep extension in response to experimental sleep restriction demonstrates partial rescue of cardiometabolic dysfunction in some but not all studies. Adequate sleep on a nightly basis may be necessary for optimal health. While initial sleep extension interventions in habitually short sleepers have been met with obstacles, preliminary findings suggest that sleep extension or sleep hygiene interventions may improve glycemic control, decrease blood pressure, and enhance weight loss. Sleep extension has the potential to attenuate obesity risk and cardiometabolic dysfunction. There is tremendous opportunity for future research that establishes a minimum threshold for sleep extension effectiveness and addresses logistical barriers identified in seminal studies.

Keywords: Blood pressure; Catch-up sleep; Insulin sensitivity; Sleep extension; Sleep hygiene; Sleep recovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Obesity* / therapy
  • Sleep*
  • Weight Loss