WEDNESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Normal weight adults appear to consume significantly more calories when they are sleep deprived, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism/Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention 2011 Scientific Sessions, held from March 22 to 25 in Atlanta.
Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues conducted a randomized, cross-over, inpatient study, in which 13 men and 13 women were tested during two phases of six days each that included short sleep (four hours/night in bed) and regular sleep (nine hours/night in bed). During the first four days of each phase, patients consumed a controlled diet. However, during the last two days of each phase, food intake was self-selected and measured.
The investigators found that adults consumed significantly more calories during short sleep than regular sleep (295.6 kcal more), mostly due to increased consumption of fat (20.7 g more), notably saturated fat (8.7 g more). There was also a nonsignificant trend for greater consumption of protein associated with short sleep as compared to regular sleep. Both men and women consumed more calories with short sleep, with women eating an average of 328.6 kcal more during short sleep compared to regular sleep (P = 0.07) and men eating 262.7 kcal more during short sleep (P = 0.15). Women also consumed 30.7 g (P = 0.04) more fat on short compared to regular sleep, while men had no significant difference in fat intake between short and regular sleep.
"Our data show that reducing sleep increases energy and fat intakes, which may explain some of the association observed between sleep and obesity. If sustained, the dietary choices made by individuals undergoing short sleep would predispose one to obesity and increased risk of cardiovascular disease," the authors write.