Do People Who Sleep Less Eat Differently Than Those Who Sleep More?

A new study evaluated the diets and sleep patterns of more than 4,500 people and found distinct dietary patterns among short and long sleepers.

While the study was only able to generate hypotheses about dietary nutrients that may be associated with short and long sleep durations, it did yield some interesting data. Participants were grouped into four sleep groups:

• Very short (less than 5 hours a night)
• Short (5-6 hours)
• Normal (7-8 hours)
• Long (9 or more hours)
Here are some of the dietary characteristics uncovered about each sleep group:

• Very short sleepers: Had the least food variety, drank less water and consumed fewer total carbohydrates and lycopene (an antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables).
• Short sleepers: Consumed the most calories but ate less vitamin C and selenium, and drank less water. Short sleepers tended to eat more lutein and zeaxanthin than other groups.
• Normal sleepers: Had the most food variety in their diet, which is generally associated with a healthier way of eating.
• Long sleepers: Consumed the least calories as well as less theobromine (found in chocolate and tea), choline and total carbs. Long sleepers tended to drink more alcohol.

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