Can Sleep Affect Timing of Caloric Intake and BMI?

Published:June 1st, 2011

It is now a common knowledge that length of sleep greatly affects the rate of obesity globally.  However, little is known in the relationship between the sleep and the body mass index and timing of feeding in the human population.  The researches analyzing the timing of sleep, the timing of feeding on the regulation of body weight are scarce.  Thus, in a study published in the April 2011 of the journal Obesity, the researchers aimed to unlock the link between the three said factors.

In this study, 52 participants were recruited to complete a seven-day wrist actigraphy and food logs. Out of this said population, fifty-six percent were considered normal sleepers and forty-four percent were late sleepers. They have noted that those late sleepers tend to have lesser duration of sleep, later onset and offset of sleep, and later meal timings. Furthermore, those participants who were documented to be late sleepers consumed more amounts of calories after 8:00 PM compared to their early sleeper counterparts. Late sleepers also consumed more fast food, more cans of full-calorie soda and lesser intake of fruits and vegetables. Participants with high BMI value tend to have shorter sleep length, later timing of sleep and greater consumption of calories from fast food meals after eight o’clock in the evening.

With these findings, the researchers concluded that increased caloric intake after eight o’clock in the evening increases a persons risk for obesity and that it is independent of the timing of sleep and its duration. Thus, they have recommended further studies regarding the biological mechanism as well as the social mechanism that associates the sleep timing and feeding in order to come up with a time-based weight management intervention.


Obesity; Role of Sleep Timing in Caloric Intake and BMI; Baron, K.G. et al.; April 2011

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