Feb. 6, 2013 —
Science Daily/Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
A new study shows for the first time that certain nutrients may play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration and that people who report eating a large variety of foods -- an indicator of an overall healthy diet -- had the healthiest sleep patterns.
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"You are what you eat," the saying goes, but is what you eat playing a role in how much you sleep? Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being. With the increasing prevalence of obesity and its consequences, sleep researchers have begun to explore the factors that predispose individuals to weight gain and ultimately obesity. Now, a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows for the first time that certain nutrients may play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration and that people who report eating a large variety of foods -- an indicator of an overall healthy diet -- had the healthiest sleep patterns.
The authors found that total caloric intake varied across groups. Short sleepers consumed the most calories, followed by normal sleepers, followed by very short sleepers, followed by long sleepers. Food variety was highest in normal sleepers, and lowest in very short sleepers. Differences across groups were found for many types of nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
"Overall, people who sleep 7 -- 8 hours each night differ in terms of their diet, compared to people who sleep less or more. We also found that short and long sleep are associated with lower food variety," said Dr. Grandner. "