Does a lack of sleep lead to a higher risk of obesity? Or does being overweight lead to more likelihood of sleep problems? Around the world, scientists have been trying to unravel this chicken and egg problem for decades. What’s clear so far is that to understand the associations between sleep loss, diet, obesity and weight gain, sleep scientists have to confront a dizzying array of knowledge domains including psychology, neuroscience, epidemiology, genetics, endocrinology and more.
Today, in a two-part episode we speak to associate professor Christian Benedict, a sleep research who has spent almost two decades in the field and now heads up his own team of researchers and doctors and Uppsala University.
We discuss the many associations that we currently know about sleep, diet and obesity, including how sleep loss impairs our cognitive ability to make good food choices, how sleep plays a role in our body’s energy expenditure equation, the role of food in our circadian system, how ‘hunger hormones’ are impacted by sleep loss, which diets are more/less impactful on our sleep patterns and a whole bunch of other stuff.
This Episode’s Guest
Christian Benedict Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in neuroscience at Uppsala University where he heads up a team of scientists at the Benedict lab, which studies the effects of circadian disruption and sleep loss on health and performance, with a particular focus on the relationship between sleep loss and metabolism.
Christian holds a Master’s degree in nutritional science, a Ph.D. in human biology, is a teacher in the medical and biomedicine program at UU and is also the author of the book “Sömn, Sömn, Sömn”.
Benedict Lab: https://www.benedictlab.org/
Uppsala University: https://katalog.uu.se/profile/?id=N9-480
The book: https://www.bonnierfakta.se/bocker/223532/somn-somn-somn/
Sleep Science Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/495466987134152/
Episode Homepage: https://sleepjunkies.com/sleep-diet-obesity-part-1/
Studies mentioned in this episode:
One night of sleep loss increases ’ideal’ portion size, Sleep loss may enhance snack intake, despite satiety
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Sep;38(9):1668-74
One night of sleep loss increases blood concentration of the hunger hormone ghrelin by about 15%
Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Aug;22(8):1786-91
Recurrent partial sleep loss decreases mean blood concentration of the appetite hormone leptin by about 19%
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Nov;89(11):5762-71