Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Hit snooze: Study shows that more sleep can stop sugar cravings

Hit snooze: Study shows that more sleep can stop sugar cravings

The study participants followed the sleep consultation, aiming to extend their time in bed by 1.5 hours per day.

After carrying out this study, they reduce their unhealthy sugars intake by 10kg equivalent, which is also the equivalent of half a slice of cake with icing, or three chocolate digestives. A further 21 control group participants received no intervention in their sleep patterns.

Losing weight and sleeping in?

These participants were all people who previously slept less than seven hours a night, the recommended minimum time adults should sleep. Half of these were given help to sleep longer, receiving four personalised tips such as avoiding caffeine, establishing a relaxing routine or not going to bed too full or hungry.

Their sleep patterns and diets were monitored for a week after, and the results were impressive.

The study found that 86% of participants in the sleep extension group increased the amount of time they spent in bed. All the participants had a motion sensor on their wrists which kept a record of their sleeping hours and also record the amount of time they spent in bed before sleeping. The study shows that more than one-third of USA adults get 6 hours or less of sleep each night which is lower than the standard sleeping time.

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From the result, about 85% of the group increase their sleep by an average of 55minutes whiles the rest half increased their sleeping time by an average of about 21minutes.

However, it is thought that the extended sleep experienced by the group who received sleep advice may not have been of the best quality.

Lead researcher Haya Al-Khatib from the Department of Nutritional Sciences said: "Sleep duration and quality is an area of increasing public health concern and has been linked as a risk factor for various conditions".

A research team led by King's College London carried out a 4-week trial with 42 poor sleepers aged 18 to 64 who usually got between 5 and 7 hours of sleep a night.

Notably, the long sleepers also reduced their sugar intake-think: the simple sugars found in fruit juice, for example-by 10 grams, along with their carbohydrate intake. With that in mind, the researchers chose to examine whether a sleep consultation could help adults get more shut-eye and how doing so might affect their daily nutrient intake.

It's not clear exactly why sleeping more improves our diets in this way but the researchers think it's probably a combination of two things: more time in bed leaves less time for late-night snacks while the less exhausted we are the less we crave sugary foods such as ice cream and chocolates to make us feel better.

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