Research shows that women who sleep poorly tend to eat more and eat a diet of a lower quality.
Researchers followed the sleep of 500 women and discovered that those who fall asleep for a long time eat higher calories every day. Those who wake up all night usually eat fatter food.
The researchers believe that a lack of closed eyes causes hunger or suppresses signals that tell the brain that the stomach is full.
The findings provide new insight into why poor sleepers have repeatedly shown to be more at risk of heart disease.
If women have poor sleep quality and as a result eat more, they are more likely to be obese – a risk factor for countless or heart problems and other diseases.
omens who have difficulty falling asleep or waking up often chink on caloric food. The researchers believe that poor sleep either causes hunger signals or suppresses signals of fullness
The researchers – from Columbia University in New York – wanted to get a more complete picture of women by investigating the link between nutrition and sleep quality.
They looked specifically at women because they have more sleeping problems, according to study senior author Dr. Brooke Aggarwal, assistant professor of medical sciences at Columbia University.
She said, “Women are particularly susceptible to sleep disorders throughout their entire life, because they are often responsible for taking care of children and family and, later, because of hormones in the menopause.”
The sleeping and eating habits of an ethnically diverse group of 495 women, between 20 and 76 years old, were collected.
Women reported their sleep quality – how ‘healthy’ they sleep – the time it took to fall asleep, and any symptoms of insomnia.
Their sleep was scored using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Insomnia Severity Index.
Participants reported how much or little they ate about 70 foods during the year.
Researchers used a database to calculate the total calorie intake and the consumption of fiber, fish, dairy, whole grain and sugar.
Women who needed more than an hour to fall asleep had a higher calorie intake and ate more weight percent than women who needed less than 15 minutes to fall asleep.
On average, they ate 143 calories and 100 g of extra food per day.
They ate slightly more carbohydrates and an extra 4 g of added sugar per 1,000 calories.
HOW DOES BAD SLEEP AFFECT THE FOOD CHOICES?
A bad night’s sleep influences so-called ‘good’ sleepers more than insomnia, scientists claim.
Scientists from the Sapienza University of Rome discovered that people who are not used to having a closed eye eat more – about 50 extra calories with breakfast.
The study measured how much food three dozen students, half of whom had signs of insomnia, consumed in the morning.
Half of each group had a normal chicken. The others were only allowed to look close for five hours – to mimic that lack of sleep.
Experts expected people with insomnia symptoms to eat most of the buffet they served, including croissants, Nutella, and cookies.
After the participants left, the researchers calculated how many calories and which macronutrients they each ate by weighing food.
However, the scientists discovered that only “good” overweight sleepers ate more after sleep deprivation, while “insomniacs” did not.
Participants in the insomnia group ate less generally after both nights, compared to students who were considered good sleepers.
An analysis of what they consumed showed that they also ate less carbohydrates and fat.
Good sleepers with a high BMI who did not get any sleep ate more food, while those who generally did not sleep well did not.
However, there was little difference between students without sleep without signs of insomnia who had a healthier BMI.
The findings suggest that food choices are not only influenced by one night’s sleep, but that habits are formed during a lifetime, the researchers said.
The findings are published in the journal Clinical Psychologist.
Women with insomnia symptoms consumed 216 extra calories and 124 grams of food by weight than those who slept well. She ate fatter food and an extra 3g of sugar per 1,000 calories.
Similar to earlier studies of sleep and diet, the study found that people with poorer sleep quality consumed more sugary foods.
This may explain the relationship between poor sleep and obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Aggarwal said, “Our interpretation is that women with poor sleep have too much food during subsequent meals and make more unhealthy food choices.”
Chief author of the research, Dr. Faris Zuraikat, a postdoctoral fellow in Columbia, said: “Poor sleep quality can lead to excessive food and calorie intake by stimulating hunger signals or suppressing signals of fullness.
“Fullness is largely influenced by the weight or volume of the food consumed, and women with insomnia may consume a greater amount of food in an effort to feel full.
‘However, it is also possible that poor nutrition has a negative impact on women’s sleep quality.
“Eating more can also cause gastrointestinal discomfort, for example, making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep.”
Dr. Aggarwal added: “Given that poor diet and overeating can lead to obesity – an established risk factor for heart disease.
“Future studies should test whether therapies that improve sleep quality can promote cardiometabolic health in women.”
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association
They support earlier research showing that people who sleep less are more likely to be obese and have type 2 diabetes.
The amount of time a person sleeps is time and time again linked to their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Lack of sleep shortens your life expectancy, according to the NHS, and has previously been associated with a greater risk of cancer.
Poor sleep can increase the risk of cancer by permanently damaging the ability of DNA to repair itself.
The recommended hours of sleep for people vary by age group.
An adult between the ages of 18 and 60 must get at least seven hours of sleep per night, according to the website of the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Figures from the Royal Society for Public Health estimate that the average person sleeps 6.8 hours a night, but the NHS recommends people get eight hours.
More than 40 million people suffer from long-term sleep disorders in the US, according to data from the CDC. Although there are an estimated 1.5 million patients in the UK.