COLUMBUS, OH – Missing the recommended seven or more hours of sleep per night could lead to more opportunities for poorer snack choices than those made by people following eye closure guidelines, a a new study suggests.
Analysis of data on nearly 20,000 American adults has shown a link between not meeting sleep recommendations and consuming carbohydrates, added sugar, fats and caffeine related to snacks.
It turns out that the preferred non-meal food categories (snacks and salty sweets and non-alcoholic drinks) are the same in adults regardless of their sleep patterns, but those who sleep less tend to eat more. calories per day.
The research also revealed what appears to be a popular American habit uninfluenced by the amount of sleep: snacking at night.
“At night, we drink our calories and eat a lot of prepared foods,” said Christopher Taylor, professor of medical dietetics at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.
“Not only do we not sleep when we stay awake late, but we adopt all of these obesity-related behaviors: lack of physical activity, increased screen time, food choices that we eat as snacks and not as meals. . It therefore creates this greater impact of meeting or not respecting sleep recommendations. “
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults regularly get seven or more hours of sleep per night to promote optimal health. Sleeping less than recommended is associated with a higher risk of a number of health problems, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
“We know that lack of sleep is linked to obesity on a larger scale, but it’s all of these little behaviors that are ingrained in how it happens,” Taylor said.
The study is published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The researchers analyzed data from 19,650 U.S. adults aged 20 to 60 who participated from 2007 to 2018 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The survey collects 24-hour food recalls from each participant – detailing not only what, but when, all foods were eaten – and asks people about their average amount of nighttime sleep during the work week.
The Ohio State team divided participants into those who met or did not meet sleep recommendations based on whether they reported getting seven hours or more or less than seven hours of sleep per night. Using databases from the United States Department of Agriculture, the researchers estimated the nutritional intake of participants’ snacks and categorized all snacks into food groups. Three snack time slots were established for the analysis: 2:00 a.m. to 11:59 a.m. for the morning, noon to 5:59 p.m. for the afternoon, and 6:00 p.m. to 1:59 a.m. for the evening.
Statistical analysis showed that almost everyone (95.5%) ate at least one snack per day, and over 50% of the snack calories among all participants came from two broad categories which included soda and drinks. energizers and crisps, pretzels, cookies and pastries.
Compared with participants who slept seven or more hours per night, those who did not meet sleep recommendations were more likely to eat a snack in the morning and less likely to eat an afternoon snack, and ate more large amounts of snacks with more calories and less nutritional value.
While there are many physiological factors at play in the relationship between sleep and health, Taylor said changing behavior by avoiding the nighttime bite in particular could help adults not only meet sleep guidelines, but also to improve their diet.
“Adhering to sleep recommendations helps us meet this specific sleep need related to our health, but is also related to not doing things that can be harmful to health,” said Taylor, registered dietitian. . “The longer we are awake, the more opportunities we have to eat. And at night, those calories come from snacks and sweets. Every time we make these decisions, we are introducing calories and items related to increased risk of chronic disease, and we are not getting whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
“Even if you’re in bed and trying to fall asleep, at least you’re not in the kitchen eating, so if you can get to bed, that’s a place to start.”
Study co-authors are Emily Potosky, Randy Wexler, and Keeley Pratt, all of Ohio State.
– This press release was originally posted on the Ohio State University website