Research Review| Volume 112, ISSUE 11, P1785-1797, November 2012

Download started.


Partial Sleep Deprivation and Energy Balance in Adults: An Emerging Issue for Consideration by Dietetics Practitioners

Published:October 24, 2012DOI:


      During the past 30 years, rates of partial sleep deprivation and obesity have increased in the United States. Evidence linking partial sleep deprivation, defined as sleeping <6 hours per night, to energy imbalance is relevant to weight gain prevention and weight loss promotion. With a majority of Americans overweight or obese, weight loss is a recommended strategy for reducing comorbid conditions. Our purpose was to review the literature regarding the role of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance and weight regulation. An inverse relationship between obesity and sleep duration has been demonstrated in cross-sectional and prospective studies. Several intervention studies have tested mechanisms by which partial sleep deprivation affects energy balance. Reduced sleep may disrupt appetitive hormone regulation, specifically increasing ghrelin and decreasing leptin and, thereby, influence energy intake. Increased wakefulness also may promote food intake episodes and energy imbalance. Energy expenditure may not be greatly affected by partial sleep deprivation, although additional and more accurate methods of measurements may be necessary to detect subtle changes in energy expenditure. Body weight loss achieved by reduced energy intake and/or increased energy expenditure combined with partial sleep deprivation may contribute to undesirable body composition change with proportionately more fat-free soft tissue mass lost compared with fat mass. Evaluating sleep patterns and recommending regular, sufficient sleep for individuals striving to manage weight may be prudent.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Flegal K.M.
        • Carroll M.D.
        • Kit B.K.
        • Ogden C.L.
        Prevalence of obesity and trends in the distribution of body mass index among US adults, 1999-2010.
        JAMA. 2012; 307: 491-497
        • Krueger P.M.
        • Friedman E.M.
        Sleep duration in the United States: A cross-sectional population-based study.
        Am J Epidemiol. 2009; 169: 1052-1063
        • Patel S.R.
        • Hu F.B.
        Short sleep duration and weight gain: A systematic review.
        Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008; 16: 643-653
        • Cappuccio F.P.
        • Taggart F.M.
        • Kandala N.-B.
        • et al.
        Meta-analysis of short sleep duration and obesity in children and adults.
        Sleep. 2008; 31: 619-626
        • Taheri S.
        • Lin L.
        • Austin D.
        • Young T.
        • Mignot E.
        Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index.
        PLoS Med. 2004; 1: e62
        • Luckhaupt S.E.
        • Tak S.
        • Calvert G.M.
        The prevalence of short sleep duration by industry and occupation in the National Health Interview Survey.
        Sleep. 2010; 33: 149-159
      1. Healthy People 2020.
        US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Washington, DC2010 (Accessed August 22, 2012)
        • Knutson K.L.
        • Van Cauter E.
        • Rathouz P.J.
        • DeLeire T.
        • Lauderdale D.S.
        Trends in the prevalence of short sleepers in the USA: 1975-2006.
        Sleep. 2010; 33: 37-45
      2. Effect of short sleep duration on daily activities—United States, 2005-2008.
        MMWR Morbid Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011; 60: 239-242
        • Shochat T.
        • Flint-Bretler O.
        • Tzischinsky O.
        Sleep patterns, electronic media exposure and daytime sleep-related behaviours among Israeli adolescents.
        Acta Paediatr. 2010; 99: 1396-1400
        • Baker F.C.
        • Wolfson A.R.
        • Lee K.A.
        Association of sociodemographic, lifestyle, and health factors with sleep quality and daytime sleepiness in women: Findings from the 2007 National Sleep Foundation “Sleep in America Poll.”.
        J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009; 18: 841-849
        • Garaulet M.
        • Corbalan M.D.
        • Madrid J.A.
        • et al.
        CLOCK gene is implicated in weight reduction in obese patients participating in a dietary programme based on the Mediterranean diet.
        Int J Obes (Lond). 2010; 34: 516-523
        • Gunderson E.P.
        • Rifas-Shiman S.L.
        • Oken E.
        • et al.
        Association of fewer hours of sleep at 6 months postpartum with substantial weight retention at 1 year postpartum.
        Am J Epidemiol. 2008; 167: 178-187
        • Taveras E.M.
        • Rifas-Shiman S.L.
        • Rich-Edwards J.W.
        • Gunderson E.P.
        • Stuebe A.M.
        • Mantzoros C.S.
        Association of maternal short sleep duration with adiposity and cardiometabolic status at 3 years postpartum.
        Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011; 19: 171-178
        • Elder C.R.
        • Gullion C.M.
        • Funk K.L.
        • Debar L.L.
        • Lindberg N.M.
        • Stevens V.J.
        Impact of sleep, screen time, depression and stress on weight change in the intensive weight loss phase of the LIFE study.
        Int J Obes (Lond). 2012; 36: 86-92
        • Lyytikäinen P.
        • Rahkonen O.
        • Lahelma E.
        • Lallukka T.
        Association of sleep duration with weight and weight gain: A prospective follow-up study.
        J Sleep Res. 2011; 20: 298-302
        • Watanabe M.
        • Kikuchi H.
        • Tanaka K.
        • Takahashi M.
        Association of short sleep duration with weight gain and obesity at 1-year follow-up: A large-scale prospective study.
        Sleep. 2010; 33: 161-167
        • St-Onge M.-P.
        • Roberts A.L.
        • Chen J.
        • et al.
        Short sleep duration increases energy intakes but does not change energy expenditure in normal-weight individuals.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2011; 94: 410-416
        • Schmid S.M.
        • Hallschmid M.
        • Jauch-Chara K.
        • et al.
        Short-term sleep loss decreases physical activity under free-living conditions but does not increase food intake under time-deprived laboratory conditions in healthy men.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 90: 1476-1482
        • Spiegel K.
        • Leproult R.
        • Van Cauter E.
        Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function.
        Lancet. 1999; 354: 1435-1439
        • Cornier M.A.
        Is your brain to blame for weight regain?.
        Physiol Behav. 2011; 104: 608-612
        • Hall J.
        • Roberts R.
        • Vora N.
        Energy homoeostasis: The roles of adipose tissue-derived hormones, peptide YY and ghrelin.
        Obes Facts. 2009; 2: 117-125
        • Cummings D.E.
        • Weigle D.S.
        • Frayo R.S.
        • et al.
        Plasma ghrelin levels after diet-induced weight loss or gastric bypass surgery.
        N Engl J Med. 2002; 346: 1623-1630
        • Mavri A.
        • Poredoš P.
        • Suran D.
        • Gaborit B.
        • Juhan-Vague I.
        • Poredoš P.
        Effect of diet-induced weight loss on endothelial dysfunction: Early improvement after the first week of dieting.
        Heart Vessels. 2011; 26: 31-38
        • Kolaczynski J.W.
        • Ohannesian J.P.
        • Considine R.V.
        • Marco C.C.
        • Caro J.F.
        Response of leptin to short-term and prolonged overfeeding in humans.
        J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996; 81: 4162-4165
        • Simpson K.
        • Parker J.
        • Plumer J.
        • Bloom S.
        CCK, PYY and PP: The control of energy balance.
        Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2012; : 209-230
        • Buxton O.M.
        • Pavlova M.
        • Reid E.W.
        • Wang W.
        • Simonson D.C.
        • Adler G.K.
        Sleep restriction for 1 week reduces insulin sensitivity in healthy men.
        Diabetes. 2010; 59: 2126-2133
        • Cermakian N.
        • Boivin D.B.
        The regulation of central and peripheral circadian clocks in humans.
        Obes Rev. 2009; 10: 25-36
        • Müssig K.
        • Remer T.
        • Maser-Gluth C.
        Brief review: Glucocorticoid excretion in obesity.
        J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010; 121: 589-593
        • US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services
        Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.
        7th ed. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC2010
        • Stiegler P.
        • Cunliffe A.
        The role of diet and exercise for the maintenance of fat-free mass and resting metabolic rate during weight loss.
        Sports Med. 2006; 36: 239-262
        • Low A.K.
        • Bouldin M.J.
        • Sumrall C.D.
        • Loustalot F.V.
        • Land K.K.
        A clinician's approach to medical management of obesity.
        Am J Med Sci. 2006; 331: 175-182
        • Lutes L.D.
        • Winett R.A.
        • Barger S.D.
        • et al.
        Small changes in nutrition and physical activity promote weight loss and maintenance: 3-month evidence from the ASPIRE randomized trial.
        Ann Behav Med. 2008; 35: 351-357
        • Knutson K.L.
        • Van Cauter E.
        Associations between sleep loss and increased risk of obesity and diabetes.
        Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008; 1129: 287-304
        • Chokroverty S.
        Overview of sleep & sleep disorders.
        Indian J Med Res. 2010; 131: 126-140
      3. Evidence Analysis Manual: Steps in the Academy Evidence Analysis Process.
        Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chicago, IL2012
        • Leproult R.
        • Copinschi G.
        • Buxton O.
        • Van Cauter E.
        Sleep loss results in an elevation of cortisol levels the next evening.
        Sleep. 1997; 20: 865-870
        • Schmid S.M.
        • Hallschmid M.
        • Jauch-Chara K.
        • et al.
        Disturbed glucoregulatory response to food intake after moderate sleep restriction.
        Sleep. 2011; 34: 371-377
        • Brondel L.
        • Romer M.A.
        • Nougues P.M.
        • Touyarou P.
        • Davenne D.
        Acute partial sleep deprivation increases food intake in healthy men.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2010; 91: 1550-1559
        • Magee C.A.
        • Huang X.
        • Iverson D.C.
        • Caputi P.
        Acute sleep restriction alters neuroendocrine hormones and appetite in healthy male adults.
        Sleep Biol Rhythms. 2009; 7: 125-127
        • Schmid S.M.
        • Hallschmid M.
        • Jauch-Chara K.
        • Born J.
        • Schultes B.
        A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal-weight healthy men.
        J Sleep Res. 2008; 17: 331-334
        • Spiegel K.
        • Tasali E.
        • Penev P.
        • Van Cauter E.
        Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite.
        Ann Intern Med. 2004; 141: 846-850
        • Spiegel K.
        • Leproult R.
        • L'hermite-Balériaux M.
        • Copinschi G.
        • Penev P.D.
        • Van Cauter E.
        Leptin levels are dependent on sleep duration: relationships with sympathovagal balance, carbohydrate regulation, cortisol, and thyrotropin.
        J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004; 89: 5762-5771
        • Donga E.
        • van Dijk M.
        • van Dijk J.G.
        • et al.
        A single night of partial sleep deprivation induces insulin resistance in multiple metabolic pathways in healthy subjects.
        J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010; 95: 2963-2968
        • Nedeltcheva A.V.
        • Kilkus J.M.
        • Imperial J.
        • Kasza K.
        • Schoeller D.A.
        • Penev P.D.
        Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 89: 126-133
        • Nedeltcheva A.V.
        • Kessler L.
        • Imperial J.
        • Penev P.D.
        Exposure to recurrent sleep restriction in the setting of high caloric intake and physical inactivity results in increased insulin resistance and reduced glucose tolerance.
        J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009; 94: 3242-3250
        • Kessler L.
        • Nedeltcheva A.
        • Imperial J.
        • Penev P.D.
        Changes in serum TSH and free T4 during human sleep restriction.
        Sleep. 2010; 33: 1115-1118
        • Simpson N.S.
        • Banks S.
        • Dinges D.F.
        Sleep restriction is associated with increased morning plasma leptin concentrations, especially in women.
        Biol Res Nurs. 2010; 12: 47-53
        • Nedeltcheva A.V.
        • Kilkus J.M.
        • Imperial J.
        • Schoeller D.A.
        • Penev P.D.
        Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity.
        Ann Intern Med. 2010; 153: 435-441
        • Bosy-Westphal A.
        • Hinrichs S.
        • Jauch-Chara K.
        • et al.
        Influence of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance and insulin sensitivity in healthy women.
        Obes Facts. 2008; 1: 266-273
        • Erickson J.M.
        Approaches to measure sleep-wake disturbances in adolescents with cancer.
        J Pediatr Nurs. 2009; 24: 255-269
        • Benedict C.
        • Hallschmid M.
        • Lassen A.
        • et al.
        Acute sleep deprivation reduces energy expenditure in healthy men.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2011; 93: 1229-1236
        • Leproult R.
        • Van Cauter E.
        Role of sleep and sleep loss in hormonal release and metabolism.
        Endocr Dev. 2010; 17: 11-21
        • Spiegel K.
        • Tasali E.
        • Leproult R.
        • Van Cauter E.
        Effects of poor and short sleep on glucose metabolism and obesity risk.
        Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2009; 5: 253-261
        • Van Cauter E.
        • Holmback U.
        • Knutson K.
        • et al.
        Impact of sleep and sleep loss on neuroendocrine and metabolic function.
        Horm Res. 2007; 67: 2-9
        • Chaput J.-P.
        • Després J.-P.
        • Bouchard C.
        • Tremblay A.
        Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin levels and increased adiposity: Results from the Quebec family study.
        Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007; 15: 253-261
        • Leibel R.L.
        The role of leptin in the control of body weight.
        Nutr Rev. 2002; 60: S15-S19
      4. Massive health website.
        (Accessed May 23, 2012)
        • Shi Z.
        • McEvoy M.
        • Luu J.
        • Attia J.
        Dietary fat and sleep duration in Chinese men and women.
        Int J Obes (Lond). 2008; 32: 1835-1840
        • Baron K.G.
        • Reid K.J.
        • Kern A.S.
        • Zee P.C.
        Role of sleep timing in caloric intake and BMI.
        Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011; 19: 1374-1381
        • Killgore W.D.S.
        • Kahn-Greene E.T.
        • Lipizzi E.L.
        • Newman R.A.
        • Kamimori G.H.
        • Balkin T.J.
        Sleep deprivation reduces perceived emotional intelligence and constructive thinking skills.
        Sleep Med. 2008; 9: 517-526
        • Mosca C.L.
        • Marshall J.A.
        • Grunwald G.K.
        • Cornier M.A.
        • Baxter J.
        Insulin resistance as a modifier of the relationship between dietary fat intake and weight gain.
        Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004; 28: 803-812
        • Lewis G.F.
        • Carpentier A.
        • Adeli K.
        • Giacca A.
        Disordered fat storage and mobilization in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
        Endocr Rev. 2002; 23: 201-229
        • Gelfand R.A.
        • Matthews D.E.
        • Bier D.M.
        • Sherwin R.S.
        Role of counterregulatory hormones in the catabolic response to stress.
        J Clin Invest. 1984; 74: 2238-2248
        • Paddon-Jones D.
        • Sheffield-Moore M.
        • Cree M.G.
        • et al.
        Atrophy and impaired muscle protein synthesis during prolonged inactivity and stress.
        J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006; 91: 4836-4841
        • Cizza G.
        • Marincola P.
        • Mattingly M.
        • et al.
        Treatment of obesity with extension of sleep duration: A randomized, prospective, controlled trial.
        Clin Trials. 2010; 7: 274-285


      J. D. Shlisky is a research assistant, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park.


      T. J. Hartman is a professor and director, Diet Assessment Center, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park.


      P. M. Kris-Etherton is a university distinguished professor, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park.


      C. J. Rogers is an assistant professor and occupant of the Broadhurst Career Development Professorship for the Study of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park.


      N. A. Sharkey is a professor, Department of Kinesiology, and associate dean of research and graduate education, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park.


      S. M. Nickols-Richardson is a professor and professor-in-charge of the Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences, Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park.