Experimental sleep curtailment causes wake-dependent increases in 24-h energy expenditure as measured by whole-room indirect calorimetry1-4

Ari Shechter, Russell Rising, Jeanine B. Albu, Marie Pierre St-Onge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background: Epidemiologic evidence has shown a link between short sleep and obesity. Clinical studies suggest a role of increased energy intake in this relation, whereas the contributions of energy expenditure (EE) and substrate utilization are less clearly defined. Objective: Our aim was to investigate the effects of sleep curtailment on 24-h EE and respiratory quotient (RQ) by using wholeroom indirect calorimetry under fixed-meal conditions. Design: Ten females aged 22-43 y with a BMI (in kg/m2) of 23.4- 27.5 completed a randomized, crossover study. Participants were studied under short- (4 h/night) and habitual- (8 h/night) sleep conditions for 3 d, with a 4-wk washout period between visits. Standardized weight-maintenance meals were served at 0800, 1200, and 1900 with a snack at 1600. Measures included EE and RQ during the sleep episode on day 2 and continuously over 23 h on day 3. Results: Short compared with habitual sleep resulted in significantly higher (±SEM) 24-h EE (1914.0 ± 62.4 compared with 1822.1 ± 43.8 kcal; P = 0.012). EE during the scheduled sleep episode (0100-0500 and 2300-0700 in short- And habitual-sleep conditions, respectively) and across the waking episode (0800- 2300) were unaffected by sleep restriction. RQ was unaffected by sleep restriction. Conclusions: Short compared with habitual sleep is associated with an increased 24-h EE of ~92 kcal (~5%)-lower than the increased energy intake observed in prior sleep-curtailment studies. This finding supports the hypothesis that short sleep may predispose to weight gain as a result of an increase in energy intake that is beyond the modest energy costs associated with prolonged nocturnal wakefulness. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01751581. Am J Clin Nutr 2013;98:1433-9.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1433-1439
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


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