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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Jan;15(1):253-61.

Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin levels and increased adiposity: Results from the Quebec family study.

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  • 1Division of Kinesiology, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada.



To explore cross-sectional associations between short sleep duration and variations in body fat indices and leptin levels during adulthood in a sample of men and women involved in the Québec Family Study.


Anthropometric measurements, plasma lipid-lipoprotein profile, plasma leptin concentrations, and total sleep duration were determined in a sample of 323 men and 417 women ages 21 to 64 years.


When compared with adults reporting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day, the adjusted odds ratio for overweight/obesity was 1.38 (95% confidence interval, 0.89 to 2.10) for those with 9 to 10 hours of sleep and 1.69 (95% confidence interval, 1.15 to 2.39) for those with 5 to 6 hours of sleep, after adjustment for age, sex, and physical activity level. In each sex, we observed lower adiposity indices in the 7- to 8-hour sleeping group than in the 5- to 6-hour sleeping group. However, all of these significant differences disappeared after statistical adjustment for plasma leptin levels. Finally, the well-documented regression of plasma leptin levels over body fat mass was used to predict leptin levels of short-duration sleepers (5 and 6 hours of sleep), which were then compared with their measured values. As expected, the measured leptin values were significantly lower than predicted values.


There may be optimal sleeping hours at which body weight regulation is facilitated. Indeed, short sleep duration predicts an increased risk of being overweight/obese in adults and is related to a reduced circulating leptin level relative to what is predicted by fat mass. Because sleep duration is a potentially modifiable risk factor, these findings might have important clinical implications for the prevention and treatment of obesity.

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