Feeding and Sleep Behavior



Feeding and sleeping follow a circadian pattern that synchronizes with the light–dark cycle. Both are essential physiological processes without which life ceases. Remarkably, the two processes interact reciprocally and disturbance to either has poor health outcomes. Feeding enables macronutrients to reach the body for nourishment. It is the macronutrients, largely carbohydrates and fat, that impact sleep 2–4 h postprandially. High glycemic index carbohydrates, in particular, facilitate ease of sleep onset by increasing tryptophan availability to the brain with tryptophan acting as a precursor for sleep-inducing neurochemicals. High fat meals mediate sleep through increased cholecystokinin release from the small intestine. Postprandial sleepiness that occurs following lunch is linked to the thermic effects of food as well as to the circadian phenomenon of postlunch dip. Both underfeeding (anorexia nervosa) and overfeeding (obesity) adversely affect sleep. Food deprivation of several days induces an increase in slow wave (deep) sleep (SWS), whereas chronic deprivation decreases SWS. The sleep changes appear to be linked to changes in the fuel stores of protein and fat. SWS appearance may play a key role in glucose homeostasis and brain glycogen accumulation. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, affects appetitive behavior. Short sleep in humans increases appetite and risk of weight gain, although the causal link between short sleep and BMI has not been established. Short sleep in rats typically stimulates hyperphagia and weight loss, and the increased energy expenditure may be explained by brown adipose tissue thermogenesis. In appraisal, careful selection of macronutrients and appropriate timing of meals could be used to advantage for the management of sleep difficulties relating to insomnia, depression, and shift work. Chronic dieting with protracted low adiposity may be detrimental to sleep while short sleep predisposes an increased appetite and weight gain.


Anorexia Nervosa Glycemic Index Paradoxical Sleep Multiple Sleep Latency Test Large Neutral Amino Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Slow wave sleep


Body mass index




Glycemic index


High fat–low carbohydrate


Low fat–high carbohydrate


Multiple sleep latency test




Rapid eye movement sleep


Nonrapid eye movement




5-Hydroxy-tryptamine (serotonin)


Large neutral amino acids




Paradoxical sleep


  1. Afaghi A, O’Connor H, Chow CM. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007; 85:426–30.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Afaghi A, O’Connor H, Chow CM. Nutr Neurosci. 2008; 11:146–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergmann BM, Everson CA, Kushida CA, Fang VS, Leitch CA, Schoeller DA, et al. Sleep. 1989; 12:31–41.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bermudez FF, Forbes JM, Injidi MH. J Physiol. 1983; 337:19–27.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhanot JL, Chhina GS, Singh B, Sachdeva U, Kumar VM. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1989; 33:139–45.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Blum I, Vered Y, Graff E, Grosskopf R, Don R, Harsat A, et al. Metabolis. 1992; 41:137–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bonnet MH, Berry RB, Arand DL. J Appl Physiol. 1991; 71:1112–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Borbely AA. Arch Ital Biol. 139:53–61.Google Scholar
  9. Brezinova V, Oswald I. Brit Med J. 1972; 2:431–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brown AM. J Neurochem. 2004; 89:537–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cappuccio FP, Taggart FM, Kandala NB, Currie A, Peile E, Stranges S, et al. Sleep. 2008; 31:619–26.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Chaput JP, Despres JP, Bouchard C, Tremblay A. Diabetologia. 2007; 50:2298–304.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chen CN, Kalucy RS, Hartmann MK, Lacey JH, Crisp AH, Bailey JE, et al. Brit Med J. 1974; 4:564–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Craig A, Richardson E. Int Arch Occ Env Hea. 1989; 61:313–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Danguir J, Nicolaidis S. Physiol Behav. 1979; 22:735–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dewasmes G, Buchet C, Geloen A, Le Maho Y. Am J Physiol. 1989; 256:R476–80.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Dewasmes G, Cohen-Adad F, Koubi H, Le Maho Y. Am J Physiol. 1984; 247:R663–71.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Dixon JB, Schachter LM, O’Brien PE. Int J Obesity. 2005; 29:1048–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Elomaa E. Physiol Behav. 1981; 26:487–93.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Epel E, Lapidus R, McEwen B, Brownell K. Psychoneuroendocrino. 2001; 26:37–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fadda P, Fratta W. Pharmacol Res. 1997; 35:443–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fara JW, Rubinstein EH, Sonnenschein RR. Science. 1969; 166:110–1.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fujiki N, Yoshida Y, Ripley B, Honda K, Mignot E, Nishino S. Neuroreport. 12:993–97.Google Scholar
  24. Galvao Mde O, Sinigaglia-Coimbra R, Kawakami SE, Tufik S, Suchecki D. Psychoneuroendocrinol. 2009; 34:1176–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Guesdon B, Minet-Ringet J, Tome DG, Even PC. Behav Brain Res. 2005; 164:156–64.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hanlon EC, Andrzejewski ME, Harder BK, Kelley AE, Benca RM. Behav Brain Res. 2005; 163:58–69.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harnish M, Greenleaf S, Orr W. Physiol Behav. 1998; 64:93–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Heiss WD, Pawlik G, Herholz K, Wagner R, Wienhard K. Brain Res. 1985; 327:362–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Karacan I, Rosenbloom AL, Londono JH, Salis PJ, Thornby JI, Williams RL. Psychosomatics. 1973; 14:33–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Karklin A, Driver HS, Buffenstein R. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994; 59:346–50.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Koban M, Swinson KL. Am J Phsyiol-Endoc M. 2005; 289:E68–74.Google Scholar
  32. Kovac J, Husse J, Oster H. Mol Cells. 2009; 28:75–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Krauchi K, Cajochen C, Werth E, Wirz-Justice A. J Biol Rhythm. 2002; 17:364–76.Google Scholar
  34. Kwan RM, Thomas S, Mir MA. J Nutr. 1986; 116:2393–402.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Lacey J, Stanley P, Hartman M, Koval J, Crisp A. Electroen Clin Neuro. 1977; 44:275–80.Google Scholar
  36. Lacey JH, Crisp AH, Kalucy RS, Hartmann MK, Chien CN. Brit Med J. 1975; 4:556–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Leathwood P, Pollet P. J Psychiatr Res. 1983; 17:147–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lloyd HM, Green MW, Rogers PJ. Physiol Behav. 1994; 56:51–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lloyd HM, Rogers PJ, Hedderley DH. Appetite. 1996; 27:151–64.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lyons PM, Truswell AS. Am J Clin Nutr. 1988; 47:433–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. MacFadyen U, Oswald I, lewis SA. J Appl Physiol. 1973; 35:391–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Markus R, Panhuysen G, Tuiten A, Koppeschaar H. Physiol Behav. 2000; 70:333–42.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Martins PJ, D’Almeida V, Nobrega JN, Tufik S. Sleep. 2006; 29:1233–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Martins PJ, Nobrega JN, Tufik S, D’Almeida V. Physiol Behav. 2008; 93:229–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Minet-Ringuet J, Le Ruyet PM, Tome D, Even PC. Behav Brain Res. 2004; 152:335–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Monk TH. Clin Sport Med. 2005; 24:e15–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Murray BE, Clarke KA, Rumsey RDE. Pro Nutr Soc. 1993; 52:359A.Google Scholar
  48. Nedeltcheva AV, Kessler L, Imperial J, Penev PD. J Clin Endocr Metab. 2009a; 94:3242–50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Kasza K, Schoeller DA, Penev PD. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009b; 89:126–33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nishino S, Ripley B, Overeem S, Lammers GJ, Mignot E. Lancet. 2000; 355:39–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Orr WC, Shadid G, Harnish MJ, Elsenbruch S. Physiol Behav. 1997; 62:709–12.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Phillips F, Chen CN, Crisp AH, Koval J, McGuinness B, Kalucy RS, et al. Lancet. 1975; 2:723–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Porter J, Horne J. Electroen Clin Neuro. 1981; 51:426–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rashotte ME, Pastukhov IF, Poliakov EL, Henderson RP. Am J Physiol. 1998; 275:R1690–702.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Robertson MD, Henderson RA, Vist GE, Rumsey RDE. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002; 75:505–10.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Sassin JF, Parker DC, Mace JW, Gotlin RW, Johnson LC, Rossman LG. Science. 1969; 165:513.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schwartz GJ, McHugh PR, Moran TH. Am J Physiol; 1993; 265:R872–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Shi Z, McEvoy M, Luu J, Attia J. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008; 32:1835–40.Google Scholar
  59. Smith A, Leekam S, Ralph A, McNeill G. Appetite. 1988; 10:195–203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Smith A, Ralph A, McNeill G. Appetite. 1991; 16:85–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Spiegel K, Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Lancet. 1999; 345:1435–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Spiegel K, Tasali E, Penev P, Van Cauter E. Ann Intern Med. 2004; 141:846–50.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Spring B, Maller O, Wurtman J, Digman L, Cozolino L. J Psychiatr Res. 1982/1983; 17:155–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Stranges S, Cappuccio FP, Kandala NB, Miller MA, Taggart FM, Kumari M, et al. Am J Epidemiol. 2008; 167:321–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Suchecki D, Antunes J, Tufik S. J Neuroendocrinol. 2003; 15:815–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Suchecki D, Lobo LL, Hipolide DC, Tufik S. J Sleep Res. 1998; 7:276–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Suchecki D, Tiba PA, Tufik S. J Neuroendocrinol. 2002; 14:549–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Taheri S. Arch Dis Child. 2006; 91:881–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. PLoS Medicine. 2004; 1:e62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wells AS, Read NW. Physiol Behav. 1996; 59:1069–79.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wells AS, Read NW, Craig A. Brit J Nutr. 1995; 74:115–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wells AS, Read NW, Idzikowski C, Jones J. J Appl Physiol. 1998; 84:507–15.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Wurtman RJ. Clin Neuropharmacol. 1988; 11(Suppl 1):S187–93.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Obes Res. 1995; 3(suppl):477s–80s.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Zammit GK, Kolevzon A, Fauci M, Shindledecker R, Ackerman S. Sleep. 1995; 18:229–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Delta Sleep Research Unit, Discipline of Exercise and Sport ScienceThe University of SydneyLidcombeAustralia

Personalised recommendations