Sleeping for longer 'helps people maintain healthier diets'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

People who sleep for longer each night are generally less inclined to eat unhealthily, according to a new study.

The King's College London research aimed to examine the feasibility of increasing sleep hours in adults who typically slept for less than the recommended minimum of seven hours, as well as looking at the impact of increasing sleep hours on nutrient intake.

“Sleeping for longer each night can help people to reduce their intake of sugary foods and maintain a healthier diet, according to new research.“

It was found that extending sleep patterns resulted in a ten-gram reduction in people's reported intake of free sugars compared to baseline levels, with the amount of carbohydrates they consumed also falling.

This meant they were generally eating less food that contained sugars added by manufacturers, as well as sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice. It suggests that as simple a lifestyle change as getting more sleep can help people to consume healthier diets.

Lead researcher Haya Al Khatib, from the university's department of nutritional sciences, said: "We hope to investigate this finding further with longer-term studies examining nutrient intake and continued adherence to sleep extension behaviours in more detail, especially in populations at risk of obesity or cardiovascular disease."

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