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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 821710, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/821710
Review Article

Examining the Pathways Linking Chronic Sleep Restriction to Obesity

1Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
2School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
3School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia

Received 21 August 2009; Revised 2 December 2009; Accepted 23 December 2009

Academic Editor: Eric Doucet

Copyright © 2010 Christopher A. Magee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A growing number of studies have identified chronic sleep restriction as a potential risk factor for obesity. This could have important implications for how obesity is prevented and managed, but current understanding of the processes linking chronic sleep restriction to obesity is incomplete. In this paper, we examined some of the pathways that could underlie the relationship between chronic sleep restriction and obesity. This involved exploring some of the potential environmental, health, behavioral, and sociodemographic determinants of chronic sleep restriction, which require further investigation in this context. Three pathways that could potentially link chronic sleep restriction to obesity were then examined: (1) altered neuroendocrine and metabolic function, (2) impaired glucose regulation, and (3) waking behavior. The selected pathways linking chronic sleep restriction to obesity reviewed in this paper are presented in a schematic representation; this may be used to guide future research in this area. This area of research is important because it may lead to more effective interventions and strategies to combat the present obesity epidemic.