RSSExtending sleep reduces sugar intake

Posted on Tue, 13 Mar 18

Extending sleep reduces sugar intake

Sleep extension was found to be an effective lifestyle medicine-based intervention for spontaneously reducing intake of sugar by 10 grams a day. 

Short sleep duration is an established risk factor for the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.  In fact, some studies have found short sleep duration is a greater risk factor for obesity than diet or lack of exercise [1].  

The mechanisms by which inadequate sleep could lead to the development of obesity include insulin resistance and dysfunctional satiety. 

Although observational studies suggest more sleep could improve body weight, the effect of increasing sleep in short-sleepers has not been well studied. 

To see if extending sleep duration could help, a lifestyle medicine-based intervention targeting sleep was conducted in normal-weight healthy people who were habitually short sleepers [2]. 

The study participants were involved in a 45-minute counseling session that personalized sleep behaviors that they most needed to improve, helped them to overcome barriers to implementing these changes, and recorded their plan in a sleep diary. They were also informed that caffeine intake late in the day and going to bed too full or too hungry, could disrupt their ability to go to sleep. The goal of the intervention was to extending time in bed by 1–1.5 hours per night.

After the 4-week study period, the sleep extension group significantly increased time in bed by approximately 1-hour, sleep period by 47 minutes, and sleep duration by 21 minutes compared with the control group. 

Sleep extension led to a reduction of approximately 10 grams of free sugars daily, with a trend towards reduced intakes of fat as well. 

“…sleep extension may reduce reported intake of free sugars, consequently improving diet quality and supporting the theory that diet may be a key mediator in the relation between short sleep and metabolic disease,” commented the study investigators. 


1. Chaput JP, Pérusse L, Després JP, Tremblay A, Bouchard C. Findings from the Quebec Family Study on the Etiology of Obesity: Genetics and Environmental Highlights. Curr Obes Rep. 2014 Jan 4;3:54-66.

2. Al Khatib HK, Hall WL, Creedon A, Ooi E, Masri T, McGowan L, Harding SV, Darzi J, Pot GK. Sleep extension is a feasible lifestyle intervention in free-living adults who are habitually short sleepers: a potential strategy for decreasing intake of free sugars? A randomized controlled pilot study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018  Jan 1;107(1):43-53.

Tags: Sugar, Sleep, Weight Loss

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