Time Urgency, Sleep Loss, and Obesity

Peter C. Whybrow

in Insecurity, Inequality, and Obesity in Affluent Societies

Published by British Academy

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780197264980
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754135 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Time Urgency, Sleep Loss, and Obesity

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Advancing technology and global commerce have created a 24-hour society where the natural constraints on human activity of geography and distance are dissolving. The competitive challenge of this world offers excitement and opportunity, but also chronic stress, which is frequently experienced by individuals as anxiety and time urgency. Sleep deprivation is commonplace and often self-imposed. The cascade of physiological disruption so engendered has unintended health consequences including cardiovascular disease and obesity. In the latter, there is growing evidence that, together with reduced exercise, short sleep may help drive weight gain by disrupting the bi-directional communication among the body's autonomic, endocrine and immune systems and the brain. The homeostasis of the pro-inflammatory cytokines, and the appetite-modulating peptides, ghrelin and leptin, in each instance is disturbed by sleep debt. This biology is reviewed, together with a discussion of its implications within the broader social context.

Keywords: sleep deprivation; obesity; stress; anxiety; time urgency; biology; social context

Chapter.  4628 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Health, Illness, and Medicine

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