Effects of acute sleep loss on leptin, ghrelin, and adiponectin in adults with healthy weight and obesity: A laboratory study

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2023 Mar;31(3):635-641. doi: 10.1002/oby.23616. Epub 2022 Nov 20.


Objective: This study investigated whether blood concentrations of leptin, ghrelin, and adiponectin are affected by acute total sleep deprivation in a sex- and weight-specific manner.

Methods: A total of 44 participants (mean age 24.9 years; 20 women; 19 with obesity) participated in a crossover design, including one night of sleep deprivation and one night of sleep in the laboratory. After each night, fasting blood was collected.

Results: After sleep deprivation, fasting levels of leptin were lower (mean [SE], vs. sleep: 17.3 [2.6] vs. 18.6 [2.8] ng/mL), whereas those of ghrelin and adiponectin were higher (839.4 [77.5] vs. 741.4 [63.2] pg/mL and 7.5 [0.6] vs. 6.8 [0.6] μg/mL, respectively; all p < 0.05). The changes in leptin and adiponectin following sleep loss were more pronounced among women. Furthermore, the ghrelin increase was stronger among those with obesity after sleep loss. Finally, the sleep loss-induced increase in adiponectin was more marked among normal-weight participants.

Conclusions: Acute sleep deprivation reduces blood concentrations of the satiety hormone leptin. With increased blood concentrations of ghrelin and adiponectin, such endocrine changes may facilitate weight gain if persisting over extended periods of sleep loss. The observed sex- and weight-specific differences in leptin, ghrelin, and adiponectin call for further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin*
  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Ghrelin
  • Humans
  • Leptin*
  • Obesity
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Young Adult


  • Adiponectin
  • Ghrelin
  • Leptin