If you find yourself eating too much added sugar and unhealthy fats, it might be because you’re not getting enough sleep, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Less sleep means more unhealthy food
Nearly 500 women between the ages of 20 and 76 were examined for their sleep patterns and the quality and quantity of their food intake. Participants self-reported how they were sleeping and eating using questionnaires. They were asked how frequently each item was consumed over the past year in addition to how much they usually ate according to portion size guidelines. Over a third of the women studied had poor sleep quality or some level of insomnia. Nearly 30% slept less than seven hours per night and nearly 25% slept less than seven hours per night but also struggled with insomnia. The average sleep time among all the women was less than seven hours. Overall, women who didn’t sleep well or didn’t sleep enough consumed an additional 500 to 800 calories on average. They exceeded recommendations for total and saturated fat intakes, as well as added sugars and caffeine, but failed to meet recommendations for whole grains and fiber. Younger women who experienced poor sleep quality also consumed lower levels of dairy. None of the sleep metrics were related to protein or carbohydrate intakes.