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Longer sleep duration associates with lower adiposity gain in adult short sleepers


The objective of this longitudinal, observational study was to verify whether a favorable change in sleep duration over 6 years could impact objective indicators of adiposity in adults aged 18–64 years. Short-duration sleepers (6 h per day; n=43) at baseline were divided into two groups: (i) those who increased their sleep duration to a ‘healthy’ length of 7–8 h per day at year 6 (mean increase: 1.52±0.66 h per day; n=23); and (ii) those who maintained their short sleep duration habits (mean change: −0.11±0.38 h per day; n=20). Adult individuals who reported sleeping 7–8 h per day at both baseline and year 6 (n=173) were used as a control group. Change in adiposity indicators for each sleep-duration group was compared by analysis of covariance. We observed that the two short-sleep-duration groups had similar baseline characteristics. However, short-duration sleepers who maintained their short sleep duration experienced a greater increase in body mass index (BMI) (difference: 1.1±0.36 kg m−2, P<0.05) and fat mass (difference: 2.4±0.64 kg, P<0.05) over the 6-year follow-up period than short-duration sleepers who increased their sleep duration, even after adjustment for relevant covariates. We did not observe any significant difference in adiposity changes between the control group and short-duration sleepers who increased their sleep duration. This study suggests for the first time that shifting sleep duration from a short to a healthier length is associated with an attenuation of fat mass gain.

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We express our gratitude to the subjects for their participation in the Quebec Family Study and the staff of the Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory at Laval University for their contribution to this study. We especially thank Dr Germain Thériault, Guy Fournier, Monique Chagnon, Lucie Allard and Claude Leblanc for their help in the collection and analysis of the data. J-PC designed the study, conducted the analyses and wrote the manuscript. CB and AT designed and created the Quebec Family Study and CB, AT and J-PD helped revise the manuscript. We acknowledge the financial support over 20 years of the Medical Research Council of Canada (now the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) through several grants for the Quebec Family Study, as well as other agencies from the governments of Quebec and Canada. J-PC holds a Junior Research Chair in Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research. J-PD is scientific director of the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk held at Université Laval. CB is partially supported by the John W Barton Sr Chair in Genetics and Nutrition. AT is partly funded by the Canada Research Chair in Environment and Energy Balance.

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Correspondence to J-P Chaput.

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Chaput, JP., Després, JP., Bouchard, C. et al. Longer sleep duration associates with lower adiposity gain in adult short sleepers. Int J Obes 36, 752–756 (2012).

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