Light modulates leptin and ghrelin in sleep-restricted adults

Mariana G. Figueiro, Barbara Plitnick, Mark S. Rea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Acute and chronic sleep restrictions cause a reduction in leptin and an increase in ghrelin, both of which are associated with hunger. Given that light/dark patterns are closely tied to sleep/wake patterns, we compared, in a within-subjects study, the impact of morning light exposures (60 lux of 633-nm [red], 532-nm [green], or 475-nm [blue] lights) to dim light exposures on leptin and ghrelin concentrations after subjects experienced 5 consecutive days of both an 8-hour (baseline) and a 5-hour sleep-restricted schedule. In morning dim light, 5-hour sleep restriction significantly reduced leptin concentrations compared to the baseline, 8-hour sleep/dim-light condition (t 1,32 = 2.9; P = 0.007). Compared to the 5-hour sleep/dim-light condition, the red, green, and blue morning light exposures significantly increased leptin concentrations (t 1,32 = 5.7; P < 0.0001, t 1,32 = 3.6; P = 0.001, and t 1,32 = 3.0; P = 0.005, resp.). Morning red light and green light exposures significantly decreased ghrelin concentrations (t 1,32 = 3.3; P < 0.003 and t 1,32 = 2.2; P = 0.04, resp.), but morning blue light exposures did not. This study is the first to demonstrate that morning light can modulate leptin and ghrelin concentrations, which could have an impact on reducing hunger that accompanies sleep deprivation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number530726
JournalInternational Journal of Endocrinology
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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