Sleeping for longer may lead to better food choices

Wednesday

Wednesday

Is the trick to cutting cravings for sugary foods as simple as getting a good night's sleep? It will not cost a single penny.

According to the researchers, more than a third of United Kingdom adults don't get enough sleep.

It's no surprise that tossing and turning all night can cause a person to feel exhausted, cranky and out of sorts the next day. Apart from this, it can also develop other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other obesity and cardiometabolic diseases, the researchers mentioned in the study.

In the trial, 21 volunteers who slept for less than the recommended seven hours a night, were sent to counselling to help change their sleep habits. So, the researchers wanted to know how this is affecting the daily nutrition level of people.

Study participants in the group whose sleep was extended underwent a 45-minute sleep consultation which aimed to extend their time in bed by up to 1.5 hours per night. Participants who slept longer also reduced their carbohydrate consumption. A further 21 control group participants received no intervention in their sleep patterns.

For seven days following the consultation, participants kept sleep and estimated food diaries and a wrist-worn motion sensor measured exactly how long participants were asleep for, as well as time spent in bed before falling asleep.

After carrying out this study, they reduce their unhealthy sugars intake by 10kg equivalent, which is also the equivalent of half a slice of cake with icing, or three chocolate digestives. Among the control group, researchers saw no change.

They found that when a group of people who slept less than seven hours a night were helped to get an average of just 21 minutes extra shut-eye, they cut their intake of unhealthy "free", or added, sugars by nearly 10g - a third of their daily allowance.

There is also evidence to suggest that getting too little sleep, or poor sleep, may be linked to weight gain. They were asked to keep a constant bedtime, resist caffeine and food before bed and try and relax in the evenings. 86 percent of those who received sleep advice increased time spent in bed and half increased their sleep duration (ranging from 52 minutes to almost 90 minutes).

Commenting on the findings, the principal investigator, Dr Wendy Hall, from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, said: "The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of free sugars.suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets".

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