A growing number of studies have identified chronic sleep restriction as a potential risk factor for obesity. This could have important implications for how obesity is prevented and managed, but current understanding of the processes linking chronic sleep restriction to obesity is incomplete. In this paper, we examined some of the pathways that could underlie the relationship between chronic sleep restriction and obesity. This involved exploring some of the potential environmental, health, behavioral, and sociodemographic determinants of chronic sleep restriction, which require further investigation in this context. Three pathways that could potentially link chronic sleep restriction to obesity were then examined: (1) altered neuroendocrine and metabolic function, (2) impaired glucose regulation, and (3) waking behavior. The selected pathways linking chronic sleep restriction to obesity reviewed in this paper are presented in a schematic representation; this may be used to guide future research in this area. This area of research is important because it may lead to more effective interventions and strategies to combat the present obesity epidemic.
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