Sleep Deprivation May Lead to Overeating

Obesity is a growing problem in many countries around the world. It has been hypothesized that sleep duration plays a role in calorie consumption and a number of studies have looked at this relationship over the years. There is now a meta-analysis combining this data to come up with a clearer picture. The meta-analysis is published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and combines the results of 11 studies to analyze the result of sleep restriction on energy intake and energy expenditure.

The 11 studies contained the results of 172 individuals. Analysis reveals that partial sleep deprivation resulted in a daily average of 385 more consumed calories (p<0.00001). The increase in calories was accompanied by a significant decrease in protein intake and higher fat intake. There was no significant impact on energy expenditure.

If long-term sleep deprivation continues to result in extra calorie consumption, increased weight gain is an obvious risk. However, more long-term research is needed to determine the real risk that sleep deprivation contributes to the likelihood of obesity. Alternately, research also needs to be done to determine whether extra sleep could attenuate calorie consumption and play a role in obesity prevention.

Al khatib HK, Harding SV, Darzi J, Pot GK. The effects of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016; Nov 2.