Do you eat lots of snacks, foods rich in carbohydrates, sugars and fats and your body weight is affected? Perhaps the reason lies in the hours you spend sleeping, which are lower than those recommended. This is what emerges from a very recent scientific research that appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics thanks to the work of an American team from Ohio State University (Potosky et al, J Acad Nutr Diet, 2021).
Hours of sleep and diet, is there a link?
Does the duration of sleep affect the diet? And can the number of hours we spend asleep increase the risk of obesity and chronic disease? Answering these questions is of considerable importance given the spread of overweight, obesity and related diseases such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes and cellular degeneration. Despite the importance of the topic, however, little research has yet been devoted to understanding the link between hours of sleep, nutrition and health. Precisely to fill this gap, scientists have carried out the study we are talking about today.
Those who sleep less tend to bring in more calories
The researchers drew on the diet, health and lifestyle data of 20,000 people participating in the large National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which began in 2007 and ended in 2018. In this way it was possible to link the hours of daily sleep with eating habits. The volunteers were thus divided into two groups, those who respected the guidelines of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, namely to sleep at least 7 hours a night, and those who did not respect them and slept fewer hours. What emerged is that sleeping fewer hours than recommended is linked to an increase in the intake of snacks, carbohydrates, sugars, fats and caffeine resulting in the ingestion of more calories and nutrient-poor foods. Not only that, those who sleep less than 7 hours are also more likely to eat snacks during the night, thus adopting eating habits that, in the long run, can be harmful and pave the way for obesity and chronic diseases associated with overweight.
The final advice is provided by the study authors themselves. At night it is important to ensure the recommended hours of sleep, at least 7. Also because, as the study noted, if we are awake at night and not in bed, it is much more likely to indulge in unhealthy snacks, rich in calories and poor in terms of nutrients, which, over time, can cause weight gain, changes in blood sugar and cardiovascular problems.