Research Study Abstract

Associations of Weekday and Weekend Sleep with Children’s Reported Eating in the Absence of Hunger

  • Published on July 20, 2019

Insufficient average sleep duration has been inconsistently associated with poor diet and obesity risks in youth. Inconsistencies in findings across studies may be due to a general failure to examine associations in weekday versus weekend sleep. We hypothesized that greater variations in weekday and weekend sleep duration would be associated with more disinhibited eating behaviors, which, in turn, might be involved in the relationship between sleep and weight. We, therefore, examined, among healthy, non-treatment seeking youth, the associations of average weekly, weekend, and weekday sleep duration with eating in the absence of hunger (EAH), a disinhibited eating behavior associated with disordered eating and obesity. Sleep was assessed via actigraphy for 14 days. Participants completed a self-report measure of EAH. Adiposity was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Linear regressions were used to test the associations of sleep duration with EAH and the associations of sleep duration and EAH, with fat mass. Among 123 participants (8–17 years, 52.0% female, and 30.9% with overweight), there was no significant association between average weekly sleep and EAH. Further, there was no significant association among average weekly sleep duration or EAH and fat mass. However, average weekday sleep was negatively associated, and average weekend sleep was positively associated, with EAH (ps < 0.02). Weekend “catch-up” sleep (the difference between weekend and weekday sleep) was positively associated with EAH (p < 0.01). Findings indicate that shorter weekday sleep and greater weekend “catch-up” sleep are associated with EAH, which may place youth at risk for the development of excess weight gain over time.


  • Sarah LeMay-Russell 1,2
  • Marian Tanofsky-Kraf 1,2
  • Natasha A. Schvey 1,2
  • Nichole R. Kelly 3
  • Lisa M. Shank 1,2
  • Sarah J. Mi 2
  • Manuela Jaramillo 2
  • Sophie Ramirez 2
  • Deborah R. Altman 2
  • Sarah G. Rubin 2
  • Meghan E. Byrne 1,2
  • Natasha L. Burke 4
  • Elisabeth K. Davis 2
  • Miranda M. Broadney 2
  • Sheila M. Brady 2
  • Susan Z. Yanovski 5
  • Jack A. Yanovski 2


  • 1

    Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA

  • 2

    Section on Growth and Obesity, Division of Intramural Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), DHHS, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-1103, USA

  • 3

    Counseling Psychology and Human Services and the Prevention Science Institute, University of Oregon, 1215 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA

  • 4

    Department of Psychology, Fordham University, 411 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458, USA

  • 5

    Division of Digestive Diseases & Nutrition, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 6707 Democracy Blvd, Rm 6025, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA



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