Energy content of the evening meal alters nocturnal body temperature but not sleep

Helen S. Driver, Ingrid Shulman, Fiona C. Baker, Rochelle Buffenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Meals of varying energy content and episodes of sleep influence body temperature. We compared the effect of an evening meal, varying from high- energy (11.91 ± 0.86 MJ) to average (5.74 ± 0.88 MJ) and a 10-h fast (no evening meal), on nocturnal body temperature and sleep. Seven healthy men (20-24 years, mean body mass index of 23.4 ± 2.6 kg/m2) reported to the laboratory for an evening meal at 2000 h having consumed similar amounts of food before 1300 h. After completing the meal, subjective hunger ratings were assessed, and a venous blood sample taken. The subjects spent 4 nonconsecutive nights (an adaptation night, followed by either of the two meal conditions or the fast in random order) in the sleep laboratory when polysomnographic recordings were made from 2300 to 0700 h. Meal energy content and serum concentrations of insulin, triglyceride, and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) varied significantly. Lower rectal temperatures were measured during the fast than following the meals. Over the 8-h recording period, thermal response indices (TRI) varied with higher body temperatures following the higher energy meal. Similar rectal temperatures were attained by the end of the sleep periods. There were no significant differences in any of the subjective or objective sleep measures. The physiological responses associated with the transient dietary changes of an evening meal or a 10-h fast altered nocturnal body temperature but did not significantly affect sleep of good sleepers when sleep was initiated 2 to 3 h after finishing the meal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Energy intake
  • Insulin
  • Nocturnal body temperature
  • Postprandial
  • Sleep
  • Thermic effect of food

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Energy content of the evening meal alters nocturnal body temperature but not sleep'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this