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Nutrition News: Sleep to Eat Better

Charlyn Fargo on

Sleep to Eat Better

Here's an interesting finding -- sleep a little bit more and you'll crave sugar less and eat fewer carbs.

Really.

I call it foggy brain. When we are tired or starving, we don't make good food decisions. Missing out on the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep is also linked to various health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In the study, the researchers recruited 21 individuals to participate in a 45-minute sleep consultation designed to extend their sleep time by up to 1.5 hours per night. Another group of 21 participants were also recruited but did not receive intervention in their sleep patterns, therefore serving as the control group.

Participants were asked to record their sleep and dietary patterns for seven days. During this time, the participants also wore motion sensors on their wrists that measured the exact amount of sleep they got each night, as well as the amount of time they spent in bed before they fell asleep.

 

Researchers found that the participants who increased the amount of sleep they got each night reduced their added sugar intake by as much as 10 grams the next day compared with the amount of sugar they consumed at the beginning of the study. These participants also had a lower daily carbohydrate intake than the group that did not extend their sleep patterns.

Earlier research has shown that more than one-third of U.S. adults get 6 hours or less of sleep each night -- less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours. With that in mind, the researchers chose to examine whether a sleep consultation could help adults get more shut-eye and how doing so might affect their daily nutrient intake.

"The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of [added] sugars, by which we mean the sugars that are added to foods by manufacturers or in cooking at home, as well as sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice, suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets," wrote study author Wendy Hall, a senior lecturer in the Department of Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences at King's College London.

Researchers also surmised that the results also suggest that increasing time in bed for an hour or so longer may lead to healthier food choices.

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