There are many health benefits to having regular, good quality sleep. Now a team at King's College London have found that increasing the amount of sleep a person gets can lead to them eating fewer sugary foods and making better food choices.
The team led by Wendy Hall, enlisted 42 volunteers to help them investigate the link between sleep and diet. 50% of the volunteers were given advice on how to get more sleep, such as avoiding caffeine before bed, establishing a relaxing routine and trying not to go to bed feeling either too full or hungry. This advice was intended to help increase the amount of sleep they got each night by 90 minutes. The remaining 21 participants acted as the control group, receiving no helpful sleep advice.
Results for the advised group showed that 86% spent more time in bed and around half slept for longer than they used to. They also reduced their free sugars intake by an average of 10 grams per day and ate fewer carbs. The control group showed no significant changes in their dietary habits.
Free sugars include any sugar added to food as well as honey, syrups and fruit juice.
Hall stated, “The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of free sugars suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets”.
A previous study in 2011, followed more than 1500 middle-aged people for six years and found that the people who became obese during that time slept an average of 6.3 hours a night, whereas those who maintained a healthier body weight slept for an average of 7.2 hours each night.
So, if you're trying to reduce your sugar and/or carb intake, think about going to bed a bit earlier each night snuggled up in your scooms duvet!
Journal reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition