The effects of partial sleep restriction and altered sleep timing on olfactory performance

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Olfaction can increase the drive to eat and may partially explain the consistent increases in energy intake (EI) following sleep restriction. We investigated the effects of 50% sleep restriction with altered sleep timing on olfactory performance. We also evaluated whether changes (Δ) in olfactory performance were associated with Δ24 h EI. Twelve men and six women (age: 23 ± 4 years; BMI: 23 ± 3 kg/m2) completed three randomized cross-over conditions: habitual sleep duration, 50% sleep restriction with advanced wake-time, and 50% sleep restriction with delayed bedtime. Sleep was measured in-laboratory (polysomnography). Olfactory performance (‘sniffin sticks’) and 24 h EI (food menu) were evaluated the next day. A trend for a significant condition*sex interaction was noted for threshold-discrimination-identification (TDI) scores (P = 0.09); TDI scores were lowest in women and highest in men, following sleep restriction with advanced wake-time. Δolfactory performance were not associated with Δ24 h EI. The impact of sleep restriction on olfactory performance may differ between sexes. Changes in olfactory performance were not associated with changes in 24 h EI. Studies investigating prolonged effects of sleep loss on the relationship between olfactory performance with EI are needed.

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