Eight obese patients (4 male, 4 female; mean age = 35.9 years) before [mean body mass index (BMI) = 37.1] and after (mean BMI = 31.4) weight loss by means of a mixed hypocaloric diet were compared with 8 lean subjects (4 male, 4 female; mean age = 37.1 years, mean BMI = 22.3) in a study of their nocturnal sleep patterns and sleep-related growth hormone (GH) secretions. Although no sleep disorders (in particular, sleep apnea and hypersomnia) were observed, GH secretion was markedly altered in obese patients that showed no sleep-related GH peaks. After weight loss, the sleep architecture in obese subjects was unchanged. On the contrary, GH peak appeared to be only partially restored and delayed until after stage III–IV of non-REM sleep. Our study on obese subjects suggests that the altered nocturnal GH secretion, probably related to a hypothalamic dysfunction, may be the result of the obesity per se.