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Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jan;101(1):135-43. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.095026. Epub 2014 Nov 26.

Habitual sleep duration is associated with BMI and macronutrient intake and may be modified by CLOCK genetic variants.

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From the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory (HSD, CES, KR, and JMO), Nutritional Epidemiology Laboratory (PFJ), and Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory (SL-F), Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA; the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Cooperative Engineering, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX (JLF); the Translational Gerontology Branch (TT and LF) and Laboratory of Neurogenetics (DGH), National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD; the Divisions of Sleep and Circadian Disorders (BEC, DJG, RS, and FAJLS) and Cardiovascular Medicine and Channing Division of Network Medicine (DM), Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA; the Divisions of Sleep Medicine (BEC, DJG, and FAJLS) and Cardiovascular Medicine and Channing Division of Network Medicine (DM), Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; the Sleep Disorders Center, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA (DJG); the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA (AH and DM); the Center for Human Genetic Research and Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (RS); the Departments of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (LK and TP) and Chronic Disease Prevention (M-MP, MP, ASH, VS, and JGE) and National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Helsinki, Finland; the Cardiovascular Health Research Unit (TMB, RNL, and BMP), Departments of Medicine (TMB, RNL, BMP, and SAG), Biostatistics (TMB and WCJ), and Epidemiology and Health Services (BMP), Computational Medicine Core (SAG), Center for Lung Biology (SAG), and University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center (SAG), University of Washington, Seattle, WA; The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (AJ, NG, TH, and OP) and Department of Clinical Medicine (AL), Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; the USDA



Short sleep duration has been associated with greater risks of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Also, common genetic variants in the human Circadian Locomotor Output Cycles Kaput (CLOCK) show associations with ghrelin and total energy intake.


We examined associations between habitual sleep duration, body mass index (BMI), and macronutrient intake and assessed whether CLOCK variants modify these associations.


We conducted inverse-variance weighted, fixed-effect meta-analyses of results of adjusted associations of sleep duration and BMI and macronutrient intake as percentages of total energy as well as interactions with CLOCK variants from 9 cohort studies including up to 14,906 participants of European descent from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium.


We observed a significant association between sleep duration and lower BMI (β ± SE = 0.16 ± 0.04, P < 0.0001) in the overall sample; however, associations between sleep duration and relative macronutrient intake were evident in age- and sex-stratified analyses only. We observed a significant association between sleep duration and lower saturated fatty acid intake in younger (aged 20-64 y) adults (men: 0.11 ± 0.06%, P = 0.03; women: 0.10 ± 0.05%, P = 0.04) and with lower carbohydrate (-0.31 ± 0.12%, P < 0.01), higher total fat (0.18 ± 0.09%, P = 0.05), and higher PUFA (0.05 ± 0.02%, P = 0.02) intakes in older (aged 65-80 y) women. In addition, the following 2 nominally significant interactions were observed: between sleep duration and rs12649507 on PUFA intake and between sleep duration and rs6858749 on protein intake.


Our results indicate that longer habitual sleep duration is associated with lower BMI and age- and sex-specific favorable dietary behaviors. Differences in the relative intake of specific macronutrients associated with short sleep duration could, at least in part, explain previously reported associations between short sleep duration and chronic metabolic abnormalities. In addition, the influence of obesity-associated CLOCK variants on the association between sleep duration and macronutrient intake suggests that longer habitual sleep duration could ameliorate the genetic predisposition to obesity via a favorable dietary profile.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00005121 NCT00005133 NCT00005487 NCT00289237 NCT01331512.


CLOCK; circadian rhythm; dietary intake; gene-environment; interaction; sleep duration

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