Study links longer sleep to healthier diet

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86 per cent of the group presented with sleep suggestions managed to increase their time in bed by an average of 55 minutes and half boosted their sleep by 21 minutes on average.

Senior study author Wendy Hall, a senior lecturer in the Department of Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences at King's College London stated that the fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of added sugars, that means the sugars that are added to foods by manufacturers can be reduced inside the body through a proper sleep and it also suggests that a simple change in lifestyle can help people to consume healthier diets.

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.

In the trial, 21 volunteers who slept for less than the recommended seven hours a night, were sent to counselling to learn how to change their habits so that they could sleep for longer.

So if you're trying to get healthy or trying to lose a bit of weight, maybe start off seeing just how much kip you're getting and work from there. These participants also had a lower daily carbohydrate intake than the group that did not extend their sleep patterns, the study found.

Their sleep patterns and diets were monitored for a week after, and the results were impressive.

They found that extending sleep resulted in a 9.6g reduction in the reported intake of free sugars compared to those in the other group.

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

There was some evidence that sleep quality deteriorated in the sleep extension group, which the researchers attribute to a change of routine.

The group has provided a chart which contained some suggestions to get better sleep.

The team suggested that any new sleep routine will take some time to get used to.

They added that their findings suggest "increasing time in bed for an hour or so longer may lead to healthier food choices".

"This further strengthens the link between short sleep and poorer quality diets that has already been observed by previous studies", Khatib said.

Alongside this, the researchers undertook a pilot investigation that looked at the impact of increasing sleep hours on nutrient intake.

Those who stay in bed longer were found to consume 2½ fewer teaspoons of sugar per day - around 40 calories.

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