The Relationship between Sleep, Obesity, and Metabolic Health in Adolescents - a Review

Curr Opin Endocr Metab Res. 2021 Apr;17:15-19. doi: 10.1016/j.coemr.2020.10.007. Epub 2020 Nov 4.


In this literature review, we discuss the importance of adequate sleep and the various effects of suboptimal sleep on weight maintenance and metabolic health specifically for adolescents. Two major contributors to adolescents experiencing decreased sleep duration and quality, and thus increasing the risk for developing metabolic syndrome in adolescence as well as later in adulthood, are increased electronic screen time particularly at night and early school start times. The less time adolescents spend sleeping, the less quality sleep they obtain, and the greater the disruption of endocrine hormone function. As another consequence, adolescents are more prone to making poor food choices, from choosing relatively nutrient-poor foods to consuming excess calories without necessarily increasing their energy expenditure. These choices put adolescents at greater risk for becoming obese throughout their lifespan.

Keywords: adolescents; body mass index (BMI); obesity; sleep; sleep deficiency.