Sleep Deprivation Sends Fat to the Belly
A controlled study of sleep-deprived young adults has provided the first causal evidence linking the lack of sleep to abdominal obesity and harmful visceral, or "belly" fat. In what the researchers claim is the first-ever study evaluating the relationship between sleep restriction and body fat distribution, they've reported the novel finding that the expansion of abdominal adipose tissue, and especially visceral fat, occurred as a function of shortened sleep.
@preyashi Naima Covassin, PhD, a researcher in cardiovascular medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., led the randomized, controlled study of 12 healthy, nonobese people randomized to controlled sleep restriction — 2 weeks of 4 hours of sleep a night — or controlled sleep of 9 hours a night, followed by a 3-day recovery period. The study was conducted in the hospital, monitored participants' caloric intake, and used accelerometry to monitor energy expense. Participants ranged in age from 19 to 39 years. The study found that the patients on curtailed sleep ate on average an additional 308 calories a day more than their controlled sleep counterparts (95% confidence interval, 59.2 - 556.8 kcal/day; P = .015), and while that translated into a 0.5-kg weight gain (95% CI, 0.1 - 0.8 kg; P = .008), it also led to a 7.8-cm2 increase in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) (95% CI, 0.3 - 15.3 cm2; P = .042), representing an increase of around 11%. The study used CT on day 1 and day 18 (1 day after the 3-day recovery period) to evaluate the distribution of abdominal fat.