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Rev Med Chil. 2011 Jul;139(7):932-40. doi: /S0034-98872011000700017. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

[Sleep deprivation as a risk factor for obesity].

[Article in Spanish]

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Laboratorio de Sueño, Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


Nocturnal sleep patterns may be a contributing factor for the epidemic of obesity. Epidemiologic ana experimental studies have reported that sleep restriction is an independent risk factor for weight gain and obesity. Moreover, sleep restriction is significantly associated with incidence and prevalence of obesity and several non-transmissible chronic diseases. Experimental sleep restriction is related to altered plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. Both hormones are directly related to appetite and satiety mechanisms. Also, a higher activity of the orexin/hypocretin system has been reported, as well as changes in glucose metabolism and autonomic nervous system. Some studies indicate that these endocrine changes could be associated with a higher diurnal food intake and preference for energy- dense foods. All these changes could result in a positive energy balance, leading to weight gain and a higher obesity risk in the long-term. The present article summarizes the epidemiologic and experimental evidence related to sleep deprivation and higher obesity risk. The possible mechanisms are highlighted.

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