Short sleep has been linked to obesity. However, sleep is a multidimensional behavior that cannot be characterized solely by sleep duration. There is limited study that comprehensively examined different sleep characteristics in relation to obesity.
We examined various aspects of sleep in relation to adiposity in 2005-2006 NHANES participants who were 18 or older and free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and depression (N = 3995). Sleep characteristics were self-reported, and included duration, overall quality, onset latency, fragmentation, daytime sleepiness, snoring, and sleep disorders. Body measurements included weight, height, waist circumference, and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry measured fat mass.
Snoring was associated with higher BMI (adjusted difference in kg/m(2) comparing snoring for 5+ nights/week with no snoring (95 % confidence interval), 1.85 (0.88, 2.83)), larger waist circumference (cm, 4.52 (2.29, 6.75)), higher percentage of body fat (%, 1.61 (0.84, 2.38)), and higher android/gynoid ratio (0.03 (0.01, 0.06)). The associations were independent of sleep duration and sleep quality, and cannot be explained by the existence of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Poor sleep quality (two or more problematic sleep conditions) and short sleep duration (<6 h) were also associated with higher measures of body size and fat composition, although the effects were attenuated after snoring was adjusted.
In a nationally representative sample of healthy US adults, snoring, short sleep, and poor sleep quality were associated with higher adiposity.