Assistant Professor / Assoc Neuroscientist
Harvard Med School/Brigham & Women's Hospital
Div of Sleep Med, Dept of Medicine
Biographical Sketch: Dr. Buxton’s research primarily focuses on 1) the causes of chronic sleep deficiency in the workplace, home, and society, and 2) the health consequences of chronic sleep deficiency, especially cardiometabolic outcomes, and the physiologic and social mechanisms by which these outcomes arise.
Recent research findings span epidemiology, controlled laboratory studies, and field experiments. In analyses using a nationally representative (NHIS) dataset, sleep duration is significantly associated with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease (Buxton & Marcelli, Social Science and Medicine 2010).
In laboratory studies, Dr. Buxton and colleagues have recently demonstrated that, in healthy adult men, sleep restriction to 5 hours/night for one week leads to 1) elevated and sustained self-reported sleepiness and lapses of attention on a computerized vigilance task, 2) elevations of afternoon and evening cortisol, and 3) a specific pattern of changes to glucose metabolism: reduced insulin sensitivity (measured via euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamps) without a compensatory change in insulin response (measured via IVGTT), and overall a significant elevation of diabetes risk (Buxton et al., Diabetes 2010). In a separate experiment, Dr. Buxton and colleagues demonstrated that the combination of chronic circadian disruption and sleep loss 1) increases post-prandial hyperglycemia due to inadequate pancreatic beta cell secretion of insulin (increasing diabetes risk) and 2) reduces basal metabolic rate (increasing obesity risk) in both younger and older adults, and 3) that these effects are reversible with one week of sleep recovery (Buxton et al., Science Translational Medicine 2012).
Dr. Buxton is a faculty member of the Work, Family, and Health Network and leads the Biomarker and Actigraphy Data Coordinating Center. Dr. Buxton and colleagues linked manager openness and creativity towards their employee’ work-family needs to employees’ objectively assessed cardiometabolic disease risk biomarkers and measured sleep duration (Berkman, Buxton, Ertel, and Okechukwu, JOHP, 2010).
Obesity and Dysregulated Sleep
Energy Balance, Glucose Metabolism, and Dysregulated Sleep