A study (ID# 0355) being presented as a poster presentation this afternoon at SLEEP 2008 shows that people who restrict their sleep are likely to increase the amount of snacks they eat. The authors conclude that this behavior may contribute to the increased risk of weight gain and obesity associated with short sleep hours.
The study involved 11 healthy volunteers with an average age of 39 years. Caloric intake was monitored for 14 days when sleep was restricted to 5.5 hours in bed each night, and for 14 days of 8.5 hours in bed each night.
Results show that meal intake remained similar in the two conditions, but subjects consumed more energy from snacks during the period of sleep restriction. The carbohydrate content of snacks also increased during restricted sleep.
Energy expenditure was comparable during the two sleep conditions, as were the levels of leptin and ghrelin, two hormones involved in appetite regulation.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, most adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
The SLEEP 2008 abstract book is available online at http://www.journalsleep.org/PDF/AbstractBook2008.pdf.