Postprandial thermogenesis and substrate oxidation are unaffected by sleep restriction

A. Shechter, R. Rising, S. Wolfe, J. B. Albu, M. P. St-Onge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background/objectives:The extent to which alterations in energy expenditure (EE) in response to sleep restriction contribute to the short sleep-obesity relationship is not clearly defined. Short sleep may induce changes in resting metabolic rate (RMR), thermic effect of food (TEF) and postprandial substrate oxidation.Subjects/methods:Ten females (age and body mass index: 22-43 years and 23.4-28 kg m-2) completed a randomized, crossover study assessing the effects of short (4 h per night) and habitual (8 h per night) sleep duration on fasting and postprandial RMR and respiratory quotient (RQ). Measurements were taken after three nights using whole-room indirect calorimetry. The TEF was assessed over a 6-h period following consumption of a high-fat liquid meal.Results:Short versus habitual sleep did not affect RMR (1.01±0.05 and 0.97±0.04 kcal min-1; P=0.23). Fasting RQ was significantly lower after short versus habitual sleep (0.84±0.01 and 0.88±0.01; P=0.028). Postprandial EE (short: 1.13±0.04 and habitual: 1.10±0.04, P=0.09) and RQ (short: 0.88±0.01 and habitual: 0.88±0.01, P=0.50) after the high-fat meal were not different between conditions. TEF was similar between conditions (0.24±0.02 kcal min-1 in both; P=0.98), as was the ∼6-h incremental area under the curve (1.16±0.10 and 1.17±0.09 kcal min-1 × 356 min after short and habitual sleep, respectively; P=0.92).Conclusions:Current findings observed in non-obese healthy premenopausal women do not support the hypothesis that alterations in TEF and postprandial substrate oxidation are major contributors to the higher rate of obesity observed in short sleepers. In exploring a role of sleep duration on EE, research should focus on potential alterations in physical activity to explain the increased obesity risk in short sleepers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1158
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number9
StatePublished - 11 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • energy expenditure
  • respiratory quotient
  • sleep restriction


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