This study aims to assess the effects of a sleep and media intervention on adolescents'
Introduction. Over the last 30 years, the obesity rate in adolescents has more than tripled,
and more than one-third of adolescents were obese in 2010. Many of the complications
associated with obesity, including glucose intolerance, hypertension, dyslipidemia and
markers of inflammation such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP), are
already present in adolescence. The incidence of type 2 diabetes in adolescents has also
increased, especially in minorities. Current lifestyle interventions for obesity and type 2
diabetes focused on altering energy balance have not shown promising long-term outcomes.
Further research is needed to better understand factors that alter metabolism in order to
create more effective interventions.
As obesity and type 2 diabetes rates have risen, adolescents' sleep duration has decreased.
Despite requiring more sleep than other children, adolescents often do not obtain adequate
sleep. There are many reasons for this decrease in sleep, including delayed circadian rhythm,
increased academic demands and extracurricular activities, minimal parental supervision and
increased media use. Media use among adolescents has increased significantly over the last 5
years and has been shown to affect adolescents' sleep. It has also been found to be an
etiological factor in adolescent obesity.
Experimental studies with adolescents and adults suggest that inadequate sleep duration and
poor sleep quality are associated with insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, increased
ghrelin and increased markers of inflammation.14-20 However, no previous study has
successfully examined the effects of a longer-term sleep intervention on factors related to
obesity and type 2 diabetes. We propose that short sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to
obesity and type 2 diabetes through 2 mechanisms: 1) increased ghrelin, which can lead to
increased food intake, decreased energy expenditure and impaired glycemic control,18 and 2)
decreased insulin sensitivity, which also increases insulin.16-20 These changes in energy
balance and metabolism could lead to weight gain over time and increase adolescents' risk for
type 2 diabetes.
Methods. This study aims to assess the effects of a sleep and media use intervention on
adolescent body composition, ghrelin and insulin sensitivity. In a randomized controlled
trial, 15-17 year olds who are obese and who do not obtain adequate sleep will be randomized
to one of two groups: a sleep intervention group or a study skills control group. The sleep
intervention group will receive four sessions including cognitive behavioral training aimed
at increasing sleep duration, education on the effects of media use on sleep and problem
solving with the participant and parent about increasing sleep duration and decreasing
nighttime media use. The control group will receive four sessions of study skills training.
Sleep duration will be measured by actigraphy, television use will be measured by the TV
Allowance device (Family Safe Media, Salt Lake City, UT), and cell phone use will be measured
by cellular provider reports and the Break Free mobile application (Mobifolio). Blood draws
will be performed before and after the intervention and at the 3-month follow-up. Body
composition will be assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).
Hypotheses and Specific Aims. Primary Aim. Conduct a two-arm parallel group randomized
controlled trial of the relative effects of an intervention for adolescent sleep duration and
media use on adolescents' sleep duration and quality, insulin sensitivity,
appetite-regulating hormones and body composition.
At the end of the study and at the 3-month follow-up, adolescents in the sleep intervention
group compared to the control group will have:
H1: Increased sleep duration and sleep quality H2: Increased insulin sensitivity H3:
Decreased ghrelin H4: Decreased percent body fat H5: Associations between sleep duration and
quality and insulin sensitivity, ghrelin and percent body fat Secondary Aim. Evaluate whether
the sleep intervention affects adolescents' nighttime media use.
H1: Adolescents in the sleep intervention group will have decreased nighttime media use (cell
phone, internet and television) compared with the control group at both the end of the study
and the 3-month follow-up.
Future. Results of this preliminary study will shed light on the impact of a sleep and media
use intervention for adolescents in reducing obesity and risk for type 2 diabetes in
adolescents. These data will provide support for a future R01 submission testing the
effectiveness of a sleep intervention in the context of a larger, well-powered study. It will
also provide the foundation for further testing of the mechanisms of action in the
relationship between sleep and obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Males or females ages 15-17
- BMI ≥95th percentile
- Android cell phone
- Average normal sleep duration ≤ 7.5 hours
- Sleep disorders
- Severe intellectual disability
- Severe mental illness