Original Article

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2017) 71, 614–624; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2016.201; published online 2 November 2016

Interventions and public health nutrition

The effects of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance: a systematic review and meta-analysis

H K Al Khatib1, S V Harding1, J Darzi1,3 and G K Pot1,2,3

  1. 1Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division, School of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London, London, UK
  2. 2VU University Amsterdam, Health and Life, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Correspondence: Dr GK Pot, Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division, King’s College London, Franklin-Wilkin’s Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH, UK. E-mail: gerda.pot@kcl.ac.uk

3These authors contributed equally to this work.

Received 20 April 2016; Revised 18 August 2016; Accepted 10 September 2016
Advance online publication 2 November 2016





It is unknown whether short sleep duration causatively contributes to weight gain. Studies investigating effects of partial sleep deprivation (PSD) on energy balance components report conflicting findings. Our objective was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of human intervention studies assessing the effects of PSD on energy intake (EI) and energy expenditure (EE).



EMBASE, Medline, Cochrane CENTRAL, Web of Science and Scopus were searched. Differences in EI and total EE following PSD compared with a control condition were generated using the inverse variance method with random-effects models. Secondary outcomes included macronutrient distribution and resting metabolic rate. Heterogeneity was quantified with the I2-statistic.



Seventeen studies (n=496) were eligible for inclusion in the systematic review, and 11 studies (n=172) provided sufficient data to be included in meta-analyses. EI was significantly increased by 385kcal (95% confidence interval: 252, 517; P<0.00001) following PSD compared with the control condition. We found no significant change in total EE or resting metabolic rate as a result of PSD. The observed increase in EI was accompanied by significantly higher fat and lower protein intakes, but no effect on carbohydrate intake.



The pooled effects of the studies with extractable data indicated that PSD resulted in increased EI with no effect on EE, leading to a net positive energy balance, which in the long term may contribute to weight gain.

Extra navigation