Sleep deprivation has been hypothesized to contribute toward obesity by decreasing leptin, increasing ghrelin, and compromising insulin sensitivity. This study examines cross-sectional and longitudinal data from a large United States sample to determine whether sleep duration is associated with obesity and weight gain.
Longitudinal analyses of the 1982-1984, 1987, and 1992 NHANES I Followup Studies and cross-sectional analysis of the 1982-1984 study.
Probability sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States.
Sample sizes of 9,588 for the cross-sectional analyses, 8,073 for the 1987, and 6,981 for the 1992 longitudinal analyses.
Measured weight in 1982-1984 and self-reported weights in 1987 and 1992. Subjects between the ages of 32 and 49 years with self-reported sleep durations at baseline less than 7 hours had higher average body mass indexes and were more likely to be obese than subjects with sleep durations of 7 hours. Sleep durations over 7 hours were not consistently associated with either an increased or decreased likelihood of obesity in the cross-sectional and longitudinal results. Each additional hour of sleep at baseline was negatively associated with change in body mass index over the follow-up period, but this association was small and statistically insignificant.
These findings support the hypothesis that sleep duration is associated with obesity in a large longitudinally monitored United States sample. These observations support earlier experimental sleep studies and provide a basis for future studies on weight control interventions that increase the quantity and quality of sleep.
Gangwisch JE, Malaspina D, Boden-Albala B, Heymsfield SB. Inadequate sleep as a risk factor for obesity: analyses of the NHANES I. Sleep 2005; 28(10): 1289-1296.
See full article at PubMed.