Impaired sleep quality and sleep loss compromise glucose homeostasis and metabolic function, but the mechanisms linking sleep and metabolic health are largely unclear. In order to gain insight into the relevance of specific electrophysiological sleep characteristics for metabolic control, we assessed the acute effect on glucose homeostasis as well as energy intake and expenditure of enhancing slow oscillatory activity, a hallmark of slow-wave sleep, by closed-loop auditory stimulation in healthy men. Twenty-two young, normal-weight men underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (oGTT), indirect calorimetry and the assessment of ad-libitum breakfast intake in the morning after nocturnal sleep with or without auditory stimulation in phase with the ongoing rhythmic occurrence of slow oscillation up-states during 210 min of slow-wave sleep in the first night-half. Stimulation vs. no stimulation strongly increased slow oscillatory activity without changing overall sleep structure, but did not alter fasting or oGTT-stimulated measures of glucose homeostasis. Food intake and energy expenditure were likewise comparable between conditions. Findings indicate that in healthy humans electrophysiological sleep quality is tuned to allow for optimal metabolic control. Future studies should investigate the potential of sleep stage-specific interventions to enhance metabolic control and well-being in patients with metabolic ailments.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)