The relationship between multiple sleep dimensions and obesity in adolescents: a systematic review

Emma Louise Gale*, Andrew James Williams, Joanne E. Cecil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Sleep is an involuntary behaviour, biologically fundamental to survival and wellbeing. However, sleep is increasingly neglected, with significant health implications. Recent research has identified associations between sleep duration, quality, timing and risk of overweight/obesity in children and adults. The aim of this review was to systematically identify and examine research that investigates the relationships between multiple objective and subjective sleep outcomes and objective adiposity measures in adolescents.

A systematic review of literature, published to December 2022, was conducted using ten bibliographic databases. Search terms included objective and subjective sleep/circadian rhythm outcomes, objective adiposity measurements, and adolescents aged 8–18 years. Eighty-nine studies were included in the final review. Sleep outcomes were synthesized into three sleep domains: pre-sleep, during sleep and post-sleep outcomes.

In summary, pre-sleep outcomes (including poor sleep hygiene, later chronotype and increased variability and later sleep timings) and increased sleep disturbance are consistently significantly associated with increased obesity and adiposity in adolescents. The relationship between during-sleep outcomes (sleep quality and efficiency) with adiposity and obesity measures was mixed. These findings suggest that adapting an individual’s schedule to best suit chronotype preference and improving sleep hygiene, including a consistent bedtime routine, could reduce adiposity and obesity in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101875
Number of pages11
JournalSleep Medicine Reviews
Early online date29 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


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