New Study Digs Into The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation On Fat Metabolism

The National Sleep Foundation reported in 2014 that 45% of Americans said that they didn’t sleep well enough. They added that at least once in the past seven days their daily activities had been negatively influenced by lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation has many detrimental impacts on health ranging from focus disturbances to cardiovascular disease.

Now a new study coming from researchers at the Pennsylvania State University has found that lack of sleep can negatively influence the metabolism of fat. The research work involved a strict schedule with limited sleep that mimicked the American work week.

It was found that sleep restriction lead to participants’ feeling less full after a fatty meal. Their lipid metabolism was also affected because of this. Furthermore, though catching up on sleep for one night helped, it didn’t completely eliminate the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

Scientists Look At The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation On Lipid Metabolism

Here’s how the study was conducted – 15 healthy men participated after they enjoyed a week of good sleep at home. These participants were in their 20’s and they had their sleep assessed at the sleep lab. The study continued for 10 nights. Of these, participants spent five nights sleeping for just five hours per night.

Following these five nights of an uncomfortable schedule, researchers gave participants a fatty supper. This dinner was high in fats and calorie-dense however, participants had no trouble finishing it. Scientists noted that when participants had the meal while sleep restricted, they felt less full. On the contrary, participants felt more satiated when they had the same meal after getting good rest.

Next, researchers collected participants’ blood samples. They found that lack of sleep impacted postparandial lipid response which causes lipids to clear from blood faster. Researchers explained that instead of evaporating lipids, the body was storing which means that lack of sleep can make people gain weight.

The workweek model also included a weekend at the end. On Friday and Saturday nights participants slept for 10 hours to catch up on missed sleep. After one night of sleeping well, their metabolism of fat had improved slightly. However, recovery sleep didn’t make it completely healthy.

Limitations Of The Study

This report adds to the proof of how sleep loss can alter bodily functions for the worse. While other studies on the matter have analyzed the effects of glucose metabolism, this is one of the few that looks at lipid digestion from food. It is important to note though that the research had some restrictions.

First of all, th schedule replicated for the study was very strict. Therefore, despite resembling the real American situation, it was still an imperfect model. Moreover, all the participants were healthy people who typically have lower odds of cardiovascular disease. They all also happened to be men. Researchers also noted that perhaps more recovery time could show higher improvements.