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Physiol Behav. 2010 Apr 19;99(5):651-6. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.01.028. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

Impact of acute sleep restriction on cortisol and leptin levels in young women.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.


Sleep restriction alters hormone patterns and appetite in men, but less is known about effects on women. We assessed effects of overnight sleep restriction on cortisol and leptin levels and on appetite in young women. Participants' baseline sleep duration and eating habits were monitored for a week before the study. Salivary cortisol and leptin were sampled from fifteen healthy women (aged 18-25) during two consecutive days: first after a 10h overnight sleep opportunity (Baseline day) and then after a night including only 3h sleep (Post sleep-restriction day). Participants also completed appetite questionnaires on both days. Sleep restriction significantly reduced morning cortisol levels (p=0.02), elevated morning leptin levels (p=0.04), elevated afternoon/evening cortisol area under the curve values (p=0.008), and slowed the decline in cortisol concentration during the day (p=0.04). Hunger and craving scores did not differ significantly between days. A single night of restricted sleep affected cortisol rhythms and morning leptin levels in young women.

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