Sleep deprivation and its effect on obesity and other health disorders
In recent times, prevalence of obesity has affected almost all age groups. In fact, it would be safe to say, obesity has become a worldwide pandemic. Numerous scientific and clinical findings resonate with the fact that presence of excess body weight can result in many health disorders, namely, cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other functional disorders. The underlying causes of obesity may be due to genetics, dietary habits, lifestyle, behavioural and environmental factors. However, more recently, another factor receiving a lot of scientific attention is sleep or lack thereof. Recent studies have indicated that sleep deprivation may be a contributing factor in the recent epidemic of obesity. Epidemiological data on shorter sleep duration in both adults and children have shown a positive association with obesity. While different mechanisms have been implicated in the sleep-obesity connection, the most documented findings suggest hormonal changes that control energy intake and metabolism. It appears that shorter sleep durations may have an association with low leptin and higher ghrelin levels, thus affecting appetite signals inadvertently leading to an increased body mass index. Therefore, the objective of this systematic review is to examine the relationship between sleep duration and quality and the resulting effect on adiposity and chronic diseases.
A significant increase in the prevalence of obesity in both adults and children has been documented over the last 20 years worldwide (1). Just in the last few years, the World Health Organization declared obesity as a global epidemic (2). Health issues stemming from obesity are no longer limited to adults; obesity in childhood can lead to health issues affecting morbidity and mortality at a very young age. Back in 1982, the Cancer Prevention Study II from the American Cancer Society requested study participants to provide data on sleep duration and frequency of insomnia. Participants ranged from ages 30 to 102 years and over 1.1 million men and women participated. Results declared the best survival was found amongst those who achieved a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night while risk for early mortality dramatically increased in those who slept less than six hours per day (3). In fact, studies have documented that obesity can lead to psychological problems including self-esteem issues, depression, and other physical health disorders such as increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, and type-2 diabetes both in children ...