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Keywords:

  • energy homeostasis;
  • sleep deprivation;
  • thyrotropic axis;
  • TSH

Summary

Sleep and endocrine function are known to be closely related, but studies on the effect of moderate sleep loss on endocrine axes are still sparse. We examined the influence of partial sleep restriction for 2 days on the secretory activity of the thyrotropic axis. Fifteen healthy, normal-weight men were tested in a balanced, cross-over study. Serum concentrations of thyrotrophin (TSH), free triiodothyronine (fT3) and free thyroxine (fT4) were monitored at 1-h intervals during a 15-h daytime period (08:00–23:00 h) following two nights of restricted sleep (bedtime 02:45–07:00 h) and two nights of regular sleep (bedtime 22:45–07:00 h), respectively. Serum concentrations of fT3 (< 0.026) and fT4 (= 0.089) were higher after sleep restriction than regular sleep, with a subsequent blunting of TSH concentrations in the evening hours of the sleep restriction condition (= 0.008). These results indicate profound alterations in the secretory activity of the thyrotropic axis after 2 days of sleep restriction to ~4 h, suggesting that acute partial sleep loss impacts endocrine homeostasis, with potential consequences for health and wellbeing.