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Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index

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      Abstract

      Background

      Sleep duration may be an important regulator of body weight and metabolism. An association between short habitual sleep time and increased body mass index (BMI) has been reported in large population samples. The potential role of metabolic hormones in this association is unknown.

      Methods and Findings

      Study participants were 1,024 volunteers from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, a population-based longitudinal study of sleep disorders. Participants underwent nocturnal polysomnography and reported on their sleep habits through questionnaires and sleep diaries. Following polysomnography, morning, fasted blood samples were evaluated for serum leptin and ghrelin (two key opposing hormones in appetite regulation), adiponectin, insulin, glucose, and lipid profile. Relationships among these measures, BMI, and sleep duration (habitual and immediately prior to blood sampling) were examined using multiple variable regressions with control for confounding factors.

      A U-shaped curvilinear association between sleep duration and BMI was observed. In persons sleeping less than 8 h (74.4% of the sample), increased BMI was proportional to decreased sleep. Short sleep was associated with low leptin ( p for slope = 0.01), with a predicted 15.5% lower leptin for habitual sleep of 5 h versus 8 h, and high ghrelin ( p for slope = 0.008), with a predicted 14.9% higher ghrelin for nocturnal (polysomnographic) sleep of 5 h versus 8 h, independent of BMI.

      Conclusion

      Participants with short sleep had reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin. These differences in leptin and ghrelin are likely to increase appetite, possibly explaining the increased BMI observed with short sleep duration. In Western societies, where chronic sleep restriction is common and food is widely available, changes in appetite regulatory hormones with sleep curtailment may contribute to obesity.

      Abstract

      The less people sleep the higher their risk for being overweight. This study shows that sleep duration affects appetite-regulating hormones

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      Most cited references 42

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      The occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing among middle-aged adults.

      Limited data have suggested that sleep-disordered breathing, a condition of repeated episodes of apnea and hypopnea during sleep, is prevalent among adults. Data from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, a longitudinal study of the natural history of cardiopulmonary disorders of sleep, were used to estimate the prevalence of undiagnosed sleep-disordered breathing among adults and address its importance to the public health. A random sample of 602 employed men and women 30 to 60 years old were studied by overnight polysomnography to determine the frequency of episodes of apnea and hypopnea per hour of sleep (the apnea-hypopnea score). We measured the age- and sex-specific prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in this group using three cutoff points for the apnea-hypopnea score (> or = 5, > or = 10, and > or = 15); we used logistic regression to investigate risk factors. The estimated prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing, defined as an apnea-hypopnea score of 5 or higher, was 9 percent for women and 24 percent for men. We estimated that 2 percent of women and 4 percent of men in the middle-aged work force meet the minimal diagnostic criteria for the sleep apnea syndrome (an apnea-hypopnea score of 5 or higher and daytime hypersomnolence). Male sex and obesity were strongly associated with the presence of sleep-disordered breathing. Habitual snorers, both men and women, tended to have a higher prevalence of apnea-hypopnea scores of 15 or higher. The prevalence of undiagnosed sleep-disordered breathing is high among men and is much higher than previously suspected among women. Undiagnosed sleep-disordered breathing is associated with daytime hypersomnolence.
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        Central nervous system control of food intake.

        New information regarding neuronal circuits that control food intake and their hormonal regulation has extended our understanding of energy homeostasis, the process whereby energy intake is matched to energy expenditure over time. The profound obesity that results in rodents (and in the rare human case as well) from mutation of key signalling molecules involved in this regulatory system highlights its importance to human health. Although each new signalling pathway discovered in the hypothalamus is a potential target for drug development in the treatment of obesity, the growing number of such signalling molecules indicates that food intake is controlled by a highly complex process. To better understand how energy homeostasis can be achieved, we describe a model that delineates the roles of individual hormonal and neuropeptide signalling pathways in the control of food intake and the means by which obesity can arise from inherited or acquired defects in their function.
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          Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function.

          Chronic sleep debt is becoming increasingly common and affects millions of people in more-developed countries. Sleep debt is currently believed to have no adverse effect on health. We investigated the effect of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine functions. We assessed carbohydrate metabolism, thyrotropic function, activity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, and sympathovagal balance in 11 young men after time in bed had been restricted to 4 h per night for 6 nights. We compared the sleep-debt condition with measurements taken at the end of a sleep-recovery period when participants were allowed 12 h in bed per night for 6 nights. Glucose tolerance was lower in the sleep-debt condition than in the fully rested condition (p<0.02), as were thyrotropin concentrations (p<0.01). Evening cortisol concentrations were raised (p=0.0001) and activity of the sympathetic nervous system was increased in the sleep-debt condition (p<0.02). Sleep debt has a harmful impact on carbohydrate metabolism and endocrine function. The effects are similar to those seen in normal ageing and, therefore, sleep debt may increase the severity of age-related chronic disorders.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            1simpleHoward Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University Palo Alto, CaliforniaUnited States of America
            2simpleDepartment of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin Madison, WisconsinUnited States of America
            simpleCentre National de la Recherche Scientifique Institut de Biologie de Lille France
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

            Author Contributions: ST, TY, and EM designed the study. ST, DA, TY, and EM analyzed the data. ST, LL, and EM performed the experiments. TY enrolled patients. ST, LL, DA, TY, and EM contributed to writing the paper.

            *To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mignot@ 123456stanford.edu

            ¤Current address: Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom

            Contributors
            Role: Academic Editor
            Journal
            PLoS Med
            pmed
            PLoS Medicine
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
            1549-1277
            1549-1676
            December 2004
            7 December 2004
            : 1
            : 3
            535701
            15602591
            10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062
            (Academic Editor)
            Copyright: © 2004 Taheri et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
            Categories
            Research Article
            Diabetes/Endocrinology/Metabolism
            Epidemiology/Public Health
            Endocrinology
            Nutrition and Metabolism
            Obesity
            Cohort Studies
            Public Health

            Medicine

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