Effect of slow wave sleep disruption on metabolic parameters in adolescents

Natalie D. Shaw, Andrew W. McHill, Michele Schiavon, Tairmae Kangarloo, Piotr W. Mankowski, Claudio Cobelli, Elizabeth B. Klerman, Janet E. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: Cross-sectional studies report a correlation between slow wave sleep (SWS) duration and insulin sensitivity (SI) in children and adults. Suppression of SWS causes insulin resistance in adults but effects in children are unknown. This study was designed to determine the effect of SWS fragmentation on SI in children. Methods: Fourteen pubertal children (11.3-14.1 y, body mass index 29th to 97th percentile) were randomized to sleep studies and mixed meal (MM) tolerance tests with and without SWS disruption. Beta-cell responsiveness (φ) and SI were determined using oral minimal modeling. Results: During the disruption night, auditory stimuli (68.1 ± 10.7/night; mean ± standard error) decreased SWS by 40.0 ± 8.0%. SWS fragmentation did not affect fasting glucose (non-disrupted 76.9 ± 2.3 versus disrupted 80.6 ± 2.1 mg/dL), insulin (9.2 ± 1.6 versus 10.4 ± 2.0 μIU/mL), or C-peptide (1.9 ± 0.2 versus 1.9 ± 0.1 ng/mL) levels and did not impair SI (12.9 ± 2.3 versus 10.1 ± 1.6 10-4 dL/kg/min per μIU/mL) or φ (73.4 ± 7.8 versus 74.4 ± 8.4 10-9 min-1) to a MM challenge. Only the subjects in the most insulin-sensitive tertile demonstrated a consistent decrease in SI after SWS disruption. Conclusion: Pubertal children across a range of body mass indices may be resistant to the adverse metabolic effects of acute SWS disruption. Only those subjects with high SI (i.e., having the greatest "metabolic reserve") demonstrated a consistent decrease in SI. These results suggest that adolescents may have a unique ability to adapt to metabolic stressors, such as acute SWS disruption, to maintain euglycemia. Additional studies are necessary to confirm that this resiliency is maintained in settings of chronic SWS disruption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1591-1599
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Puberty
  • Slow wave sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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