How does sleep deprivation impact problematic eating?

Raised of $3,090 Goal
Funded on 7/21/18
Successfully Funded
  • $3,091
  • 100%
  • Funded
    on 7/21/18

About This Project

Research studies have linked characteristics of eating disorders (e.g., binge eating, extreme dieting) with sleep disturbances (e.g., sleep loss from difficulty falling and staying asleep). This study will test how one night of sleep deprivation affects eating behaviors, including food consumption and disordered eating. This study aims to identify novel risk factors of disordered eating, with hopes to inform interventions for people with eating disorders.

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What is the context of this research?

- Disordered eating characterizes eating disturbances that range from non-problematic eating to eating disorders, which indicate extreme eating disturbances.

- Up to approximately 3% of the general population may be diagnosed with an eating disorder throughout their lifetime.

- Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses, which are linked to elevated rates of mortality and suicide.

- It is crucial to understand predictors of disordered eating for effective early intervention strategies to prevent the onset or curtail the progression of an eating disorder.

- Research supports an association between sleep problems and disordered eating.

- No studies have directly tested sleep deprivation as a risk factor for disordered eating.

What is the significance of this project?

- This is the first study to test the effects of sleep deprivation on disordered eating, which will determine the short-term impact of sleep deprivation on disordered eating behaviors, including binge eating, vomiting, and exercising.

- This study will pave the way for future studies, involving objective measures of sleep (actigraphy watches) and appetite hormones, as well as prospective designs to understand the long-term impact of sleep deprivation on disordered eating.

- It is critical to understand novel risk factors of disordered eating to improve treatments of eating disorders. In fact, studies report that current treatments have high rates of relapse, suggesting the need for improved treatments.

What are the goals of the project?

The goals of this study are to examine how one night of sleep deprivation influences eating patterns the next day. We will explore if sleep deprivation leads to:

1. Greater urges to binge eat, vomit, and exercise?

2. Greater consumption of a test meal?

3. Greater feelings of hunger and desire to eat before the test meal?


4. Do depression and anxiety affect the impact of sleep deprivation on disordered eating?

Sixty adult women will either sleep about 8 hours or about 4 hours (sleep deprived) before visiting our lab to report disordered eating urges and appetite after consuming an english muffin and a nutritional shake. Participants will report disordered eating behaviors the night after the lab visit.


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*The Actiwatch 2 would be used to objectively measure sleep intervals to confirm that participants adhere to the sleep protocol.

Participant compensation is critical to compensating research participants for their time and efforts expended while completing aspects of our experiment. Compensation will also cover participant transportation costs to our research lab at IIT. The Amazon gift cards are an extra incentive for participants to complete same-day follow-up questionnaires regarding disordered eating behaviors.

The calibrated scale will be used to measure food consumption of the in-lab test meal, which will consist of an english muffin with a pat of butter and nutritional shakes (which the lab already has). Measuring the food consumed is critical to answering our study's questions. The mini fridge, white foam cups, and lids will be used to safely store the butter and nutritional shakes, which are part of the test meal.

Endorsed by

I am really excited for Nicole's project! Data generated from this study will help us understand how sleep dysregulation influences appetite, weight, and disordered eating. Nicole has already completed several studies in the area of sleep and disordered eating and is well-suited to carry out this research. I have no doubt that she is developing into a successful, independent researcher that will make significant contributions to the field of eating and weight disorders.
This project will address an important research question that could aid in the development of effective treatment interventions for individuals with disordered eating. Nicole is highly knowledgeable about this topic and has years of experience conducting research on eating disorders. For these reasons, I believe she is highly qualified to complete this project.

Flag iconProject Timeline

- After receiving funding, our study will begin recruiting adult women from the Chicago area using online and paper advertisements.

- We hope to finish collecting data no later than the end of May 2019.

- The data will be analyzed soon after, and a brief interpretation will be provided to the project backers.

- The MS Thesis will be defended no later than the end of July.

- Nicole Johnson will begin drafting a manuscript to submit for publication.

Jun 06, 2018

Project Launched

Jul 17, 2018

IIT's IRBĀ Approved Study!!

Jul 22, 2018

Order Study Supplies

Aug 01, 2018

Begin Recruiting Participants (hopefully)

Apr 29, 2019

Finish Data Collection (at the latest)

Meet the Team

Nicole K. Johnson, B.S.
Nicole K. Johnson, B.S.
Clinical Psychology PhD Student


Illinois Institute of Technology, Department of Psychology
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Nicole K. Johnson, B.S.

Nicole is currently a 4th year clinical psychology PhD student at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. Nicole researches risk and maintenance factors for eating disorders in Dr. Alissa Haedt-Matt's Eating Behaviors Lab at IIT. Nicole recently completed the data collection for her Master's Thesis project, "Investigating the Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Appetite and Disordered Eating", for which she funded through backers on

At the University of North Dakota, Nicole began researching eating disorders in 2013 and spent two years as a research assistant and one year as lab coordinator in Dr. Kyle De Young's Eating Behaviors Lab. In 2015, Nicole earned her Bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND. Nicole began studying at IIT in 2016, and she is expected to graduate with her PhD in clinical psychology in 2022.

Nicole has presented 3 poster presentations and 1 paper talk at the International Conference of Eating Disorders (ICED), and she has co-authored various other presentations at ICED and regional conferences. Nicole has 3 peer reviewed publications studying aspects of eating disorders, and she has 4 manuscripts in preparation, 3 of which examine aspects of sleep disturbances and eating disorder symptoms. In the summer of 2017, Nicole completed a Summer Research Fellowship at the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Nicole is passionate about researching factors that may impact the development and maintenance of eating disorders with hopes to improve eating disorder interventions. Please see Nicole's LinkedIn and ResearchGate profiles for more information regarding her research and clinical work.

Additional Information

This study will be conducted under the supervision of Dr. Alissa Haedt-Matt, who is an expert in eating disorders. The study will use Dr. Haedt-Matt's Eating Behaviors Lab, which is located at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

For more information regarding eating disorders please visit the following webpages:


Project Backers

  • 30Backers
  • 100%Funded
  • $3,091Total Donations
  • $103.03Average Donation
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