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Longer Sleep Associated With Better Diet

It’s recommended that people get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, although many people do not. A recent study suggests that sleeping longer may lead to following a healthier diet by reducing the amount of sugars a person consumes.

Participants in the study included 42 people aged 18 to 64 who are habitually short sleepers. Half of them participated in a 45-minute sleep consultation aimed to increase their sleep time by up to 1.5 hours per night. The other half received no intervention. For seven days after the consultation, all of the participants kept sleep and estimated food diaries and wore motion sensors on their wrists in order to measure exactly how long they slept and the time they fell asleep.

At the conclusion of the study, 86% of the sleep consultation group increased their time spent in bed and half increased the amount of time they actually slept. The increases ranged from 52 minutes to 90 minutes. Three of the participants had a weekly average that met the recommendation of seven to nine hours.

When the researchers compared dietary intake information with sleep patterns, they found that the participants who slept more had a 10 gram reduction in reported intake of free sugars, when compared to their intake at the beginning of the study. They also had a reduced intake of total carbohydrates.

Researchers from King’s College London conducted the study. It was published on January 10, 2018, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Previous studies have linked not getting enough sleep with faster cognitive decline, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Some methods to try to improve your sleep include eating less high fat foods, eliminating “blue light” (such as the light from your phone) just before bed, eliminating caffeine before bed time, and increasing exercise levels.

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