Send to

Choose Destination
BMC Public Health. 2019 Oct 22;19(1):1347. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-7628-x.

The effect of mild sleep deprivation on diet and eating behaviour in children: protocol for the Daily Rest, Eating, and Activity Monitoring (DREAM) randomized cross-over trial.

Author information

Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Department of Women's and Children's Health, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Biostatistics Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Ohio, USA.
School of Health, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.
Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand.



Although insufficient sleep has emerged as a strong, independent risk factor for obesity in children, the mechanisms by which insufficient sleep leads to weight gain are uncertain. Observational research suggests that being tired influences what children eat more than how active they are, but only experimental research can determine causality. Few experimental studies have been undertaken to determine how reductions in sleep duration might affect indices of energy balance in children including food choice, appetite regulation, and sedentary time. The primary aim of this study is to objectively determine whether mild sleep deprivation increases energy intake in the absence of hunger.


The Daily, Rest, Eating, and Activity Monitoring (DREAM) study is a randomized controlled trial investigating how mild sleep deprivation influences eating behaviour and activity patterns in children using a counterbalanced, cross-over design. One hundred and ten children aged 8-12 years, with normal reported sleep duration of 8-11 h per night will undergo 2 weeks of sleep manipulation; seven nights of sleep restriction by going to bed 1 hr later than usual, and seven nights of sleep extension going to bed 1 hr earlier than usual, separated by a washout week. During each experimental week, 24-h movement behaviours (sleep, physical activity, sedentary behaviour) will be measured via actigraphy; dietary intake and context of eating by multiple 24-h recalls and wearable camera images; and eating behaviours via objective and subjective methods. At the end of each experimental week a feeding experiment will determine energy intake from eating in the absence of hunger. Differences between sleep conditions will be determined to estimate the effects of reducing sleep duration by 1-2 h per night.


Determining how insufficient sleep predisposes children to weight gain should provide much-needed information for improving interventions for the effective prevention of obesity, thereby decreasing long-term morbidity and healthcare burden.


Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12618001671257 . Registered 10 October 2018.


Obesity; child; dietary intake; eating behaviour; physical activity; sedentary behaviour; sleep

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center