Sleep restriction (SR) reliably increases caloric intake. It remains unknown whether such intake cumulatively increases with repeated SR exposures and is impacted by the number of intervening recovery sleep opportunities. Healthy adults (33.9 ± 8.9y; 17 women, Body Mass Index: 24.8 ± 3.6) participated in a laboratory protocol. N = 35 participants experienced two baseline nights (10 h time-in-bed (TIB)/night; 22:00–08:00) followed by 10 SR nights (4 h TIB/night; 04:00–08:00), which were divided into two exposures of five nights each and separated by one (n = 13), three (n = 12), or five (n = 10) recovery nights (12 h TIB/night; 22:00–10:00). Control participants (n = 10) were permitted 10 h TIB (22:00–08:00) on all nights. Food and drink consumption were ad libitum and recorded daily. Compared to baseline, sleep-restricted participants increased daily caloric (+527 kcal) and saturated fat (+7 g) intake and decreased protein (−1.2% kcal) intake during both SR exposures; however, intake did not differ between exposures or recovery conditions. Similarly, although sleep-restricted participants exhibited substantial late-night caloric intake (671 kcal), such intake did not differ between exposures or recovery conditions. By contrast, control participants showed no changes in caloric intake across days. We found consistent caloric and macronutrient intake increases during two SR exposures despite varying intervening recovery nights. Thus, energy intake outcomes do not cumulatively increase with repeated restriction and are unaffected by recovery opportunities.
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