Visual Communications and Technology Education Faculty Publications

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This study examined the effects of one night of sleep curtailment on hunger, food cravings, food reward, and portion size selection. Women who reported habitually sleeping 7–9 h per night, were aged 18–55, were not obese, and had no sleep disorders were recruited. Sleep conditions in this randomized crossover study consisted of a normal night (NN) and a curtailed night (CN) where time in bed was reduced by 33%. Hunger, tiredness, sleep quality, sleepiness, and food cravings were measured. A progressive ratio task using chocolates assessed the food reward. Participants selected portions of various foods that reflected how much they wanted to eat at that time. The sleep duration was measured using a single-channel electroencephalograph. Twenty-four participants completed the study. The total sleep time was shorter during the CN (p < 0.001). Participants reported increased hunger (p = 0.013), tiredness (p < 0.001), sleepiness (p < 0.001), and food cravings (p = 0.002) after the CN. More chocolate was consumed after the CN (p = 0.004). Larger portion sizes selected after the CN resulted in increased energy plated for lunch (p= 0.034). In conclusion, the present study observed increased hunger, food cravings, food reward, and portion sizes of food after a night of modest sleep curtailment. These maladaptive responses could lead to higher energy intake and, ultimately, weight gain.

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