Obesity and sleep disturbance: the chicken or the egg?

Giovanna Muscogiuri, Luigi Barrea, Giuseppe Annunziata, Carolina Di Somma, Daniela Laudisio, Annamaria Colao, Silvia Savastano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epidemiological studies suggested an association between obesity and sleep disturbances. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent type of obesity-related sleep disorder that lead to an increased risk for numerous chronic health conditions. In addition the increased visceral adipose tissue might be responsible for the secretion of inflammatory cytokines that could contribute to alter the sleep-wake rhythm. Unhealthy food characterized by high consumption of fat and carbohydrate seems to negatively influence the quality of sleep while diet rich of fiber is associated to more restorative and deeper sleep. Although obesity could cause through several pathogenetic mechanisms an alteration of sleep, it has been reported that subjects suffering from sleep disorders are more prone to develop obesity. Experimental laboratory studies have demonstrated that decreasing either the amount or quality of sleep increase the risk of developing obesity. Experimental sleep restriction also causes physiological, hormonal and food behavioral changes that promote a positive energy balance and a compensatory disproportionate increase in food intake, decrease in physical activity, and weight gain. Thus, the aim of this review is to provide observational evidence on the association of obesity with sleep disturbances and viceversa with emphasis on possible pathophysiological mechanisms (hormonal and metabolic) that link these two pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 18 2018


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