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Two nights of sleep deprivation with or without energy restriction does not impair the thermal response to cold

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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).

Conclusion

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.

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Abbreviations

ANOVA:

Analysis of variance

A D :

Body surface area

CAT:

Cold air test

CON:

Control trial

EDTA:

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid

ER:

Energy restriction

M :

Metabolic heat production

Mean T sk :

Mean skin temperature

RER:

Respiratory exchange ratio

RPE:

Ratings of perceived exertion

SDEP:

Sleep deprivation

SDEP + ER:

Sleep deprivation and energy restriction

T bicep :

Bicep skin temperature

T calf :

Calf skin temperature

T chest :

Chest skin temperature

T re :

Rectal core temperature

T thigh :

Thigh skin temperature

RH:

Relative humidity

VO2 :

Oxygen uptake

VO2max :

Maximal oxygen uptake

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Samuel J. Oliver.

Additional information

Communicated by George Havenith.

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Oliver, S.J., Harper Smith, A.D., Costa, R.J.S. et al. Two nights of sleep deprivation with or without energy restriction does not impair the thermal response to cold. Eur J Appl Physiol 115, 2059–2068 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3184-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3184-y

Keywords

  • Thermoregulation
  • Sleep loss
  • Cold injury
  • Hypothermia
  • Thermogenesis