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Distinct associations between energy balance and the sleep characteristics slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep

Abstract

Context:

Epidemiologically, an inverse relationship between body mass index (BMI) and sleep duration is observed. Intra-individual variance in the amount of slow wave sleep (SWS) or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep has been related to variance of metabolic and endocrine parameters, which are risk factors for the disturbance of energy balance (EB).

Objective:

To investigate inter-individual relationships between EB (EB=energy intake–energy expenditure, MJ/24 h), SWS or REM sleep, and relevant parameters in normal-weight men during two 48 h stays in the controlled environment of a respiration chamber.

Subjects and methods:

A total of 16 men (age 23±3.7 years, BMI 23.9±1.9 kg m−2) stayed in the respiration chamber twice for 48 h to assure EB. Electroencephalography was used to monitor sleep (2330–0730 hrs). Hunger and fullness were scored by visual analog scales; mood was determined by State Trait Anxiety Index-state and food reward by liking and wanting. Baseline blood and salivary samples were collected before breakfast. Subjects were fed in EB, except for the last dinner, when energy intake was ad libitum.

Results:

The subjects slept on average 441.8±49 min per night, and showed high within-subject reliability for the amount of SWS and REM sleep. Linear regression analyses showed that EB was inversely related to the amount of SWS (r=−0.43, P<0.03), and positively related to the amount of REM sleep (r=0.40, P<0.05). Relevant parameters such as hunger, reward, stress and orexigenic hormone concentrations were related to overeating, as well as to the amount of SWS and REM sleep, however, after inclusion of these parameters in a multiple regression, the amount of SWS and REM sleep did not add to the explained variance of EB, which suggests that due to their individual associations, these EB parameters are mediator variables.

Conclusion:

A positive EB due to overeating, was explained by a smaller amount of SWS and higher amount of REM sleep, mediated by hunger, fullness, State Trait Anxiety Index-state scores, glucose/insulin ratio, and ghrelin and cortisol concentrations.

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Acknowledgements

We thank our subjects for their participation in our study. We gratefully thank Loek Wouters, Jos Stegen and Martine Hulsbosch for their assistance. This study is funded by Nutrim, Maastricht University.

Author contributions

FR, RH, HG and EM (supervised by MW) carried out the study, collected and analyzed the data and wrote the largest part of the manuscript. SL reviewed the manuscript. MW supervised execution of the study, data analysis and writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to F Rutters.

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Rutters, F., Gonnissen, H., Hursel, R. et al. Distinct associations between energy balance and the sleep characteristics slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep. Int J Obes 36, 1346–1352 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2011.250

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