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The effect of sleep on appetite regulation and metabolic health in lean and overweight populations; Implications for Food, Energy Intake and Obesity (ref: RDF20/SER/MCIVER)

Project Description

The incidence of reduced sleep in the UK is increasing. A report from the Sleep Council has shown that despite a recommendation of 7-9 hours of sleep per night, 74% of individuals sleep less than 7 hours (The Sleep Council, 2017). The same report also identified a recent increase in the number of individuals sleeping for less than 5 hours each night, rising from 7% in 2013 to 12% in 2017 which could have a detrimental impact on health. Chronic sleep loss is associated with an increased risk in developing obesity (Marshalla et al. 2008; Spiegel et al. 2009), possibly through changes in satiety (Broussard et al. 2016) and impairments in metabolic function (Rao et al. 2015). The findings reported within the scientific literature indicate that sleep is vital to many biological processes in energy balance.

Despite the increase in obesity levels, a substantial variability in whole body mass still remains within western societies (Li et al. 2015). A complex variety of factors modulate energy intake and energy expenditure, these factors could contribute to the wide variability of body fat observed between individuals. The variability in body composition has been observed within appetite-regulatory hormones, with fasting concentrations of ghrelin, PYY and GLP-1 being less sensitive as body fat increases (Karra and Batterham 2010; Coutinho et al. 2018, whereas leptin and insulin concentrations are elevated (Considine et al. 1996; Bagdade, Bierman, Porte, 1967). Due to these notable differences, it could be suggested that appetite and food intake response from sleep deprivation could be modulated by body fat. Therefore, gaining an understanding of the role of sleep in appetite control within both lean and overweight populations can provide implications for weight management and obesity. The aim of the project is to study the effect of sleep deprivation on appetite regulation in lean and overweight populations

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU students with a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


McIver VJ., Mattin LR., Evans GH., Yau AMW. 2019. Diurnal influences of fasted and non-fasted brisk walking on gastric emptying rate, metabolic responses, and appetite in healthy males. Appetite. 143 (1), pp. 104-411.

McIver VJ, Mattin L, Evans GH, Yau AMW. 2018. The effect of brisk walking in the fasted versus fed state on metabolic responses, gastrointestinal function, and appetite in healthy men. International Journal of Obesity. 43(9), pp.1691-1700.

Almoosawi, S., Palla, L., Walshe, I., Vingeliene, S., & Ellis, J. (2018). Long Sleep Duration and Social Jetlag Are Associated Inversely with a Healthy Dietary Pattern in Adults: Results from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme Y1–4. Nutrients. 10(9), 1131.

Sweeney, E. L., Jeromson, S., Hamilton, D. L., Brooks, N. E., & Walshe, I. H. (2017). Skeletal muscle insulin signalling and whole body glucose metabolism following acute sleep restriction in healthy males. Physiological reports, 5(23).

Sweeney, E.L., Peart, D.J., Kyza, I., Harkes, T., Ellis, J.G. & Walshe, I.H. Acute Sprint Interval Exercise Alters Impaired Insulin Profiles Induced by a Single Night of Sleep Restriction. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. (in press)

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