When people sleep more they also eat less sugar and carbs

Alicia Farmer
January 10, 2018

Sleep is a modifiable risk factor for various conditions including obesity and cardio-metabolic disease with some figures suggesting more than a third of adults in the United Kingdom are not getting enough sleep.

For the study, the researchers selected 21 individuals and took them through a 45-minute sleep consultation program created to extend their sleep time by up to 1.5 hours in the very night.

Earlier research has shown that more than one-third of USA adults get 6 hours or less of sleep each night - less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours, according to the study. However, most research until now has either been observational, leading to the possibility, for instance, that obesity causes poor sleep rather than the other way around, or has looked at the effects of sleep deprivation on appetite.

Of those receiving sleep advice, 86 percent increased time spent in bed, and half increased their sleep duration (ranging from 52 minutes to almost 90 minutes). This included advice such as avoiding caffeine before bed time, establishing a relaxing routine and not going to bed too full or hungry, tailored to their personal lifestyle.

Then the team asked all the participants to maintain a record of their sleep and dietary patterns for seven days.

The statistics also implied, but this protracted sleep could have been of the lower grade than the control class and investigators think an amount of adjustment to some new pattern might be required. 3 participants achieved a weekly average over the recommended seven to eight months. There were no significant changes in diet in the control group.

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It's not clear exactly why sleeping more improves our diets in this way but the researchers think it's probably a combination of two things: more time in bed leaves less time for late-night snacks while the less exhausted we are the less we crave sugary foods such as ice cream and chocolates to make us feel better. We have shown that sleeping customs can also be changed using relative simplicity in healthy older people utilizing a lively approach.

And they also cut down on their carb intake.

"Our results also suggest that increasing time in bed for an hour or so longer may lead to healthier food choices", said lead researcher, Haya Al Khatib.

But missing out on the recommended minimum of 7 hours of nightly shut-eye is also linked to various health conditions, such as obesity and cardiometabolic diseases, which include diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to the study, published today (Jan. 9) in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

This isn't the first study to link diet and sleep.

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