Study shows how sleeping hours are associated with one’s snacking choices
A recent study suggests that completing recommended sleeping hours can lead to smarter snacking choices. The study abstract has been published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the research will be presented in a poster session on October 18 at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in 2021.
The results suggest that people who miss the recommended seven or more hours of sleep at night may take worse snacks than those who follow closed-eyed guidelines.
The analysis of data on nearly 20,000 American adults showed a link between not meeting sleep recommendations and eating more snack-related carbohydrates, with added sugar, fat and caffeine.
It turns out that the preferred non-meal categories – salty snacks and sweets and non-alcoholic beverages – are the same among adults regardless of sleep habits, but those who get less sleep tend to eat more snack calories in a day in general.
The research also revealed what appears to be a popular American habit that is not affected by how much we sleep: snacking at night.
“At night, we drink our calories and eat a lot of convenience foods,” said Christopher Taylor, professor of medical dietetics at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Ohio State University and senior author of the study. “Not only are we not sleeping when we stay up late, but we’re doing all these obesity-related behaviours: lack of physical activity, increased screen time, food choices that we consume as snacks and not as meals. So it creates this greater effect. of meeting or not meeting sleep recommendations,” he added.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommends that adults regularly sleep seven hours or longer at night to promote optimal health. Getting less sleep than recommended is associated with a higher risk of a number of health problems, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. “We know that lack of sleep is associated with obesity on a larger scale, but it’s all these little behaviours that are rooted around how it happens,” Taylor said.
Researchers analysed data from 19,650 US adults between the ages of 20 and 60 who had participated from 2007 to 2018 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study collected 24-hour diet calls from each participant, but when, all food was consumed – and asking people questions about their average amount of night’s sleep during the work week.
The participants were into those who either made or did not meet sleep recommendations based on whether they reported sleeping seven or more hours or less than seven hours each night. The researchers estimated participants’ snack-related nutritional intake and categorised all snacks into food groups. Three snacking times were determined for the analysis: 2: 00-11: 59 am in the morning, noon-5: 59 pm in the afternoon and 6 pm-1: 59 am for the evening. Statistical analysis showed that almost everyone – 95.5 percent – ate at least one snack a day, and over 50 percent of the snacking calories among all participants came from two broad categories that included sodas and energy drinks and chips, pretzels, cookies and pastries.
Although there are plenty of physiological factors that play into the relationship of sleep to health, Taylor said that changing behaviour by avoiding nocturnal nosh could especially help adults not only meet the sleep guidelines but also improve their diet. ANI