Sleep: a serious contender for the prevention of obesity and non-communicable diseases

  • Dale Elizabeth Rae University of Cape Town
  • Irshaad Ebrahim
  • Laura Catherine Roden University of Cape Town
Keywords: Sleep, non-communicable diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus


There is a perception that time spent asleep is time wasted. Anecdotally one hears of people sleeping no more than 3–4 h per night with no apparent ill effects. As tempting as a short sleep regime sounds, we know that sleep is critical for survival. In 1983 Rechtschaffen and colleagues showed that rats developed pathology and died within 14 to 21 days of total sleep deprivation.1 Data accumulated over the past 40 years from prospective cohort studies indicate higher all-cause mortality rates among people who sleep either less than 6 h or more than 9 h per night.2 We also know that sleep loss affects neurobehavioural performance, metabolism and obesity, and psychological health.3 (Full text available online at Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa 2016; DOI: 10.1080/16089677.2016.1150574

Author Biographies

Dale Elizabeth Rae, University of Cape Town
Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Department of Human Biology Faculty of Health Sciences University of Cape Town
Irshaad Ebrahim
Constantia Sleep Centre Cape Town South Africa
Laura Catherine Roden, University of Cape Town
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology Faculty of Science University of Cape Town
Guest Editorial