As parents, most of us try to get our kids to bed at a decent hour. But there are more reasons for a bedtime other than wanting your child to be well-rested. According to new research, adequate sleep is associated with healthier eating choices as well.
According to new research published this month in the journal Sleep, teens who got less than eight hours of sleep during weeknights were more apt to eat bigger proportions of fatty foods and snacks than their peers who got enough sleep.
After adjusting for age, sex and race, teens who slept less than eight hours on weeknights consumed 2.2 percent more calories from fats and 3 percent fewer calories from carbs than teens who slept eight hours or more.
Also, for each hour of sleep added, the odds of consuming a high amount of calories from snacks decreased by an average of 21 percent.
“The relative increase in fat consumption among shorter sleepers by 2.2 percent per day chronically may contribute to cumulative increases in energy consumption that would be expected to increase risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease,” said senior author and principal investigator Susan Redline, MD, MPH.
The study authors are unclear why, but the association of unhealthy snacking and inadequate sleep was more pronounced in teen girls.
“Further research is needed to understand how gender may modify the relationship between sleep, stress, metabolism and eating behaviors,” said Redline.