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Study: Your Diet linked to Sleep Patterns

Feb 8th, 2013

Diet linked to SleepDiet linked to sleep patterns, A recent study has concluded.

Your diet plays a major role in how much sleep you get, a recent study said.The study, published in the journal Appetite, is the first to show a link between nutrition and sleep duration. It also revealed that those who eat a wide variety of foods had the healthiest sleep patterns.

The right amount of sleep is very important for a person’s health and well-being.

For many years, people may have realized the relationship between diet and sleep, but very little research has been done about the topic.

“Although many of us inherently recognize that there is a relationship between what we eat and how we sleep, there have been very few scientific studies that have explored this connection, especially in a real-world situation,” said Michael Grandner, researcher and member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania.

“In general, we know that those who report between seven and eight hours of sleep each night are most likely to experience better overall health and well being, so we simply asked the question ‘Are there differences in the diet of those who report shorter sleep, longer sleep, or standard sleep patterns?'” he said.

For the study, the team analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted in 2007-2008, which includes demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related questions.

Researchers compared the participants’ sleep patterns to their daily dietary intake. The participants were grouped according to the amount of sleep they get each night:

  • Very short sleepers          –              less than five hours
  • Short sleepers                   –              five to six hours
  • Normal sleepers               –              seven to eight
  • Long sleepers                    –              more than nine hours

The team found that the total caloric intake varied across groups. In general, short sleepers consumed the most calories, followed by normal sleepers, very showed sleepers, and the long sleepers ate the least calories.

They also found that normal sleepers ate the widest variety of food and short sleepers ate the least variety. Significant differences were noted across all the groups for intake of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

  • very short sleep       –         less intake of water, lycopene (red- and orange-colored fruits and vegetables), and total carbohydrates
  • short sleep                –         less intake of vitamin C, water, selenium (meat, nuts, shellfish),  and more lutein/zeaxanthin (greens)
  • long sleep                 –         less intake of theobromine (chocolate and tea), dodecanoic acid (type of saturated fat), choline (eggs and fatty meats), total carbohydrates, and more alcohol

“Overall, people who sleep 7 – 8 hours each night differ in terms of their diet, compared to people who sleep less or more. We also found that short and long sleep are associated with lower food variety,” Grandner said.

Researchers are not sure whether diet modification could help improve the quality of sleep.

“This will be an important area to explore going forward as we know that short sleep duration is associated with weight gain and obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” Grandner said. “Likewise, we know that people who sleep too long also experience negative health consequences.”

Source: VISTA Health Solutions

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