APSS: Poor Sleep and Insomnia May Lead to Impaired Nutrition

June 13, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS -- Poor sleepers may be too tired during the day to eat properly, according to researchers here.

MINNEAPOLIS, June 13 -- Poor sleepers may be too tired during the day to eat properly, according to researchers here.

Yet by increasing the amount of sleep time -- or at least the amount of time in bed before getting up -- there may be a reduction in caloric intake, researchers reported at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting.

"Persons with sleep complaints such as insomnia are less likely to eat at home," said psychologist Mindy Engle-Friedman, Ph.D., of Baruch College of the City University of New York. "These meals outside the home may require less effort and may be less healthful than meals prepared at home."

"Over time, persons with sleep complaints may have weight or health problems related to their nutrition," she said.

She studied the sleep and diet of 21 healthy undergraduates -- 12 men and nine women -- for seven days. She said the differences between the those eating at home and those who ate more in restaurants reached statistical significance (P

"It's possible the calorie dip reflects less hunger among the students, or it could mean they are not having a late night snack or they drank less soda at night to keep them awake," she said. On-going studies will try to decipher that.

Although the studies were different in time and scope, Dr. Peszka said there was nothing in her study that contradicted the results of Dr. Engle-Friedman's study among urban college students. "These studies seem to mesh very well," Dr. Peszka said. "Sleepy people tend to consume more food."