This application for a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award entitled "Circadian Timing, Sleep, and Adiposity" is being submitted by Dr. Kelly Glazer Baron, PhD, MPH, to continue her professional development as a clinical researcher in sleep and circadian rhythms. Obesity is one of the nation's greatest health problems and sleep and circadian rhythm disturbances are thought to play a role in the development of obesity. Short sleep duration and poor sleep quality have been shown to affect metabolism and the hormones that regulate hunger and satiety. In addition, disrupted circadian rhythms, such as in shift work, have been associated with weight gain, increased risk for metabolic syndrome, poorer diet and exercise behavior. At this point, it is not known to what degree individual differences in circadian timing contribute to obesity in non-shift workers. This study will test the timing of circadian rhythms and also the alignment between circadian rhythms and sleep with measures of adiposity, dietary behavior, and physical activity. Results of this study may lead to new interventions for the prevention and treatment of obesity. Dr. Baron is a Clinical Health Psychologist with a specialty in Behavioral Sleep Medicine. Her research has focused on health behaviors in sleep disorders populations, including treatment adherence in obstructive sleep apnea and outcomes of insomnia treatment. She has been building her knowledge and experience with circadian rhythms research through evaluating dietary behavior in individuals with normal and delayed sleep timing preferences. The project proposed in this award builds on Dr. Baron's prior research demonstrating greater calorie intake in those with a preference for later sleep timing by objectively measuring circadian rhythms and also exploring the effects of misalignment between circadian rhythms and sleep. Her long term goals are to become an expert on the role of circadian rhythms in metabolism and weight regulation, with understanding of both the biological and social aspects of this relationship. It is Dr. Baron's hope that this work will lead to interventions to prevent and treat obesity through new mechanisms, such as shifting circadian rhythms using behavioral changes, light and melatonin.

Public Health Relevance

Individuals with delayed circadian rhythms may have disrupted metabolism and increased risk of weight gain due to both biological and social factors, such as what is seen in shift workers. The proposed project will evaluate associations between timing of the circadian rhythm and misalignment of the circadian rhythm and sleep with obesity, diet, and physical activity. If results demonstrate that circadian timing and or misalignment are associated with obesity, this research may benefit public health through leading to new biological and behavioral interventions for obesity that involve shifting circadian rhythms using behavior, light, and melatonin.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-CSR-X (M1))
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Twery, Michael
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Northwestern University at Chicago
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Baron, Kelly Glazer; Reid, Kathryn J (2014) Circadian misalignment and health. Int Rev Psychiatry 26:139-54
Reid, Kathryn J; Santostasi, Giovanni; Baron, Kelly G et al. (2014) Timing and intensity of light correlate with body weight in adults. PLoS One 9:e92251
Baron, Kelly Glazer; Reid, Kathryn J; Zee, Phyllis C (2013) Exercise to improve sleep in insomnia: exploration of the bidirectional effects. J Clin Sleep Med 9:819-24
Glazer Baron, Kelly; Gunn, Heather E; Czajkowski, Laura A et al. (2012) Spousal involvement in CPAP: does pressure help? J Clin Sleep Med 8:147-53