Widespread sleep deprivation could partly explain the current epidemics of both obesity and diabetes, emerging data suggest.
Too little sleep may contribute to long-term health problems by changing the concentrations of hormones that control appetite, increasing food intake, and disrupting the biological clock, according to Eve Van Cauter of the University of Chicago.
Van Cauter and other researchers discussed possible links between sleep deprivation, expanding waistlines, and obesity-related problems this week in Washington, D.C., at a meeting titled A Scientific Workshop on Sleep Loss and Obesity: Interacting Epidemics.
Researchers have observed that people who sleep less than 7 to 8 hours a night have elevated rates of obesity and diabetes. In late 2004, Karine Spiegel of the Free University of Brussels in Belgium and Van Cauter conducted experiments in healthy men showing that forced sleep restriction for 2 days increased appetite and triggered changes in the