Clinical Research

Impact of change in bedtime variability on body composition and inflammation: secondary findings from the Go Red for Women Strategically Focused Research Network


Variability in daily sleep patterns is an emerging factor linked to metabolic syndrome. However, whether reducing bedtime variability improves markers of disease risk has not been tested. Here, we assessed whether body composition and inflammation were impacted by changes in bedtime variability over a 6-week period, during which, women were instructed to maintain healthy, habitual sleep (HS) patterns (one arm of a randomized trial). Data were available for 37 women (age 34.9 ± 12.4 years, BMI 24.7 ± 2.9 kg/m2, sleep duration 7.58 ± 0.49 h/night). Body composition and leukocyte platelet aggregates (LPA) were measured at baseline and endpoint using magnetic resonance imaging and flow cytometry, respectively. Sleep data were collected daily using wrist actigraphy. Change in bedtime variability was calculated as the difference in the standard deviation (SD) of bedtimes measured during the 2-week screening period and the 6-week intervention period. Results showed that women who reduced their bedtime variability (n = 29) during the intervention had reductions in total (P < 0.001) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (P < 0.001) relative to women who increased/maintained (n = 8) bedtime variability. Similar effects were observed for LPA levels between women who reduced vs increased/maintained bedtime variability (P = 0.011). Thus, reducing bedtime variability, without changing sleep duration, could improve cardiometabolic health by reducing adiposity and inflammation.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    St-Onge MP, Grandner MA, Brown D, Conroy MB, Jean-Louis G, Coons M, et al. Sleep duration and quality: impact on lifestyle behaviors and cardiometabolic health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2016;134:e367–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Huang T, Redline S. Cross-sectional and prospective associations of actigraphy-assessed sleep regularity with metabolic abnormalities: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Diabetes Care. 2019;42:1422–9.

  3. 3.

    Neeland IJ, Ross R, Despres JP, Matsuzawa Y, Yamashita S, Shai I, et al. Visceral and ectopic fat, atherosclerosis, and cardiometabolic disease: a position statement. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2019;7:715–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Lebas H, Yahiaoui K, Martos R, Boulaftali Y. Platelets are at the nexus of vascular diseases. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2019;6:132.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Minervino D, Gumiero D, Nicolazzi MA, Carnicelli A, Fuorlo M, Guidone C, et al. Leukocyte activation in obese patients: effect of bariatric surgery. Medicine. 2015;94:e1382.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Quante M, Kaplan ER, Cailler M, Rueschman M, Wang R, Weng J, et al. Actigraphy-based sleep estimation in adolescents and adults: a comparison with polysomnography using two scoring algorithms. Nat Sci Sleep. 2018;10:13–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Migueles JH, Cadenas-Sanchez C, Ekelund U, Delisle Nystrom C, Mora-Gonzalez J, Lof M, et al. Accelerometer data collection and processing criteria to assess physical activity and other outcomes: a systematic review and practical considerations. Sports Med. 2017;47:1821–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Shen W, Punyanitya M, Wang Z, Gallagher D, St-Onge MP, Albu J, et al. Visceral adipose tissue: relations between single-slice areas and total volume. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:271–8.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Gallagher D, Kuznia P, Heshka S, Albu J, Heymsfield SB, Goodpaster B, et al. Adipose tissue in muscle: a novel depot similar in size to visceral adipose tissue. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81:903–10.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Nhek S, Clancy R, Lee KA, Allen NM, Barrett TJ, Marcantoni E, et al. Activated platelets induce endothelial cell activation via an interleukin-1beta pathway in systemic lupus erythematosus. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2017;37:707–16.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Newman JD, Echagarruga CT, Ogando YM, Montenont E, Chen Y, Fisher EA, et al. Hyperglycemia enhances arsenic-induced platelet and megakaryocyte activation. J Transl Med. 2017;15:55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Kim M, Sasai H, Kojima N, Kim H. Objectively measured night-to-night sleep variations are associated with body composition in very elderly women. J Sleep Res. 2015;24:639–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Papandreou C, Bulló M, Díaz-López A, Martínez-González MA, Corella D, Castañer O, et al. High sleep variability predicts a blunted weight loss response and short sleep duration a reduced decrease in waist circumference in the PREDIMED-Plus Trial. Int J Obes (Lond). 2020;44:330–9.

  14. 14.

    Freedman JE, Larson MG, Tanriverdi K, O’Donnell CJ, Morin K, Hakanson AS, et al. Relation of platelet and leukocyte inflammatory transcripts to body mass index in the Framingham heart study. Circulation. 2010;122:119–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Heymsfield SB, Ebbeling CB, Zheng J, Pietrobelli A, Strauss BJ, Silva AM, et al. Multi-component molecular-level body composition reference methods: evolving concepts and future directions. Obes Rev. 2015;16:282–94.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was funded by an American Heart Association Go Red for Women Strategically Focused Research Network Award (St-Onge: 16SFRN27950012; Jelic: 16SFRN29050000; Berger: 16SFRN28730002). FZ has received support from American Heart Association Strategically Focused Research Network Award postdoctoral fellowship (16SFRN27880000) and National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship (T32HL007343). This publication was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, through Grant Number UL1TR001873. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marie-Pierre St-Onge.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

St-Onge, M., Campbell, A., Zuraikat, F. et al. Impact of change in bedtime variability on body composition and inflammation: secondary findings from the Go Red for Women Strategically Focused Research Network. Int J Obes 44, 1803–1806 (2020).

Download citation

Further reading