Research has been conducted into the association between diet and sleep habits in teenagers. Brigham and Women’s Hospital together with Bet Israel Deaconness Medical Centre, both based in Boston found that teenagers who sleep less than the recommended eight hours a night eat more fatty food and snacks.
The study consisted of 240 teenage participants, aged from sixteen to nineteen. Their sleep was monitored at home through a wrist band device that measured their movements, in order to determine wakefulness and sleep. Food intake was measured through twenty-four hour food recalls, via interview.
More specifically, the study found that teenagers that slept less than eight hours on weeknights consumed on average 245 more calories each day than those that slept more.
‘The demonstration of chronically altered dietary patterns in adolescents with shorter sleep provides insight into why shorter sleep has been associated with obesity in prior experimental and observational studies’; said Dr. Redline.
It seems that less sleep makes teens crave fatty foods, in order to regain energy due to fatigue, which can lead to weight gain and an unhealthier lifestyle. On the positive side; it was found that the risks can be reversed through better sleep habits.