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Sweet/dessert foods are more appealing to adolescents after sleep restriction. PLoS One 2015;10(2):e0115434



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Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84923804975 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   65 Citations


STUDY OBJECTIVE: Examine the effect of experimental sleep restriction (SR) on adolescents' subjective hunger and perceived appeal of sweet/dessert foods versus other foods. A secondary goal was to replicate previous findings on the effects of SR on dietary intake.

DESIGN: Randomized cross-over sleep restriction-extension paradigm.

SETTING: Sleep was obtained and monitored at home. Outcome measures were gathered during office visits.

PARTICIPANTS: 31 typically-developing adolescents aged 14-17 years.

INTERVENTIONS: The three-week protocol consisted of a baseline week, followed randomly by five consecutive nights of SR (6.5 hours in bed) versus healthy sleep duration (HS; 10 hours in bed), a 2-night wash-out period, and a 5-night cross-over.

MEASUREMENTS: Sleep was monitored via actigraphy. The morning after each experimental condition, teens rated their hunger, underwent a 24-hour diet recall interview, and rated the appeal of a series of pictures of sweet/dessert foods (e.g., ice cream, candy) and non-sweets (meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables).

RESULTS: Teens rated pictures of sweet/dessert foods to be more appealing after SR than after HS (Cohen's d = .41, t = 2.07, p = .045). The sleep manipulation did not affect self-reported hunger or the appeal of non-sweet foods (p >.10). Consistent with our prior work, intake of overall calories was 11% higher and consumption of sweet/dessert servings was 52% greater during SR than HS.

CONCLUSIONS: Adolescent SR appears to increase the subjective appeal of sweet/dessert foods, indicating a potential mechanism by which SR might contribute to weight gain and the risk for obesity and chronic illness.

Author List

Simon SL, Field J, Miller LE, DiFrancesco M, Beebe DW


Lauren E. Miller PhD Assistant Professor in the Neurology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Cross-Over Studies
Food Preferences
Photic Stimulation
Sleep Deprivation