Two nights of sleep deprivation with or without energy restriction does not impair the thermal response to cold
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In persons completing exhaustive daily exercise, sleep and energy restriction have been highlighted as risk factors for hypothermia in cold environments. The present study therefore sought to determine the effect of sleep deprivation (SDEP), with and without energy restriction, on the thermal response to cold.
In a random order, ten recreationally active men (mean ± SD: age 25 ± 6 years, body fat 17 ± 5 %) completed three 53 h trials: a control (CON: 436 min/night sleep), SDEP (0 min sleep), and sleep deprivation and energy restriction (SDEP + ER: 0 min sleep and 10 % daily energy requirements). Exhaustive exercise was completed after 5 and 29 h. After 53 h participants completed a semi-nude seated cold air test (CAT, 0 °C), for 4 h or until rectal core temperature (T re) reached 36 °C.
Two nights of sleep and energy restriction did not impair the thermal response to cold (T re, CON 36.15 ± 0.20 °C, SDEP 36.30 ± 0.15 °C, SDEP + ER 36.25 ± 0.20 °C, P = 0.25). Rewarming was also similar as indicated by 1 h post-CAT T re (P = 0.78). In contrast, perceived thermal discomfort during the initial hour of the CAT tended to be greater after SDEP and SDEP + ER (P ≤ 0.1).
Sleep and energy restriction, at least as evaluated within this experiment, should be considered minimal risk factors for hypothermia. The greater perception of cold discomfort at the same body temperature suggests that sleep and energy restriction may actually reduce cold injury risk, as people are likely to engage earlier in normal behavioral cold adaptation.
KeywordsThermoregulation Sleep loss Cold injury Hypothermia Thermogenesis
Analysis of variance
Body surface area
Cold air test
Metabolic heat production
- Mean Tsk
Mean skin temperature
Respiratory exchange ratio
Ratings of perceived exertion
- SDEP + ER
Sleep deprivation and energy restriction
Bicep skin temperature
Calf skin temperature
Chest skin temperature
Rectal core temperature
Thigh skin temperature
Maximal oxygen uptake
The authors wish to acknowledge the Headquarters Army Recruiting and Training Division, Upavon, UK, for supporting the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
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