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Food restriction induces functional resilience to sleep restriction in rats

Loomis, Sally, Mccarthy, Andrew, Dijk, Derk-Jan, Gilmour, Gary and Winsky-Sommerer, Raphaelle (2020) Food restriction induces functional resilience to sleep restriction in rats Sleep.

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Study Objectives. Sleep restriction leads to performance decrements across cognitive domains but underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. The impact of sleep restriction on performance in rodents is often assessed using tasks in which food is the reward. Investigating how the drives of hunger and sleep interact to modulate performance may provide insights into mechanisms underlying sleep loss related performance decrements.

Methods. Three experiments were conducted in male adult Wistar rats to assess: 1) Effects of food restriction on performance in the simple response latency task (SRLT) across the diurnal cycle (n=30); 2) Interaction of food restriction and sleep restriction (11-h) on SRLT performance, sleep EEG and event-related potentials (ERP) (n=10-13); 3) Effects of food restriction and sleep restriction on progressive ratio (PR) task performance to probe the reward value of food reinforcement (n=19).

Results. Food restriction increased premature responding on the SRLT at the end of the light period of the diurnal cycle. Sleep restriction led to marked impairments in SRLT performance in the ad libitum-fed group, which were absent in the food-restricted group. After sleep restriction, food restricted rats displayed a higher amplitude of cue-evoked ERP components during the SRLT compared to the ad libitum group. Sleep restriction did not affect PR performance while food restriction improved performance.

Conclusions. Hunger may induce a functional resilience to negative effects of sleep loss during subsequent task performance, possibly by maintaining attention to food-related cues.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
Gilmour, Gary
Date : 13 April 2020
Funders : Eli Lilly & Company Ltd.
DOI : 10.1093/sleep/zsaa079
OA Location :
Copyright Disclaimer : © Sleep Research Society 2020. Published by Oxford University Press [on behalf of the Sleep Research Society]. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Sleep deprivation; Attention; Motivation; Cognition; Event-related potentials; Circadian rhythm; Vigilance; Hunger; Effort
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 27 May 2020 13:19
Last Modified : 08 Jul 2020 10:59

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