Researchers looked at the kip quality and diets of nearly 500 women between the ages of 20-76 who participated in the AHA Go Red for Women program - a year-long study of sleep patterns and cardiovascular risk. They found that the poorer their quality of Z’s and the less shuteye they got each night, the more the participants chowed down on added sugars, saturated fats and caffeine.
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On average, those who didn't sleep well - or enough - consumed an extra 500 to 800 calories. They also exceeded the RDI for total and saturated fat, sugars and caffeine, but failed to meet recommendations for whole grains and fibre. The researchers put this down to the fact that a lack of quality sleep stimulates hunger and suppresses hormone signals that communicate fullness. This makes it much harder to avoid cravings for unhealthy foods.
"In our modern society, we oftentimes work late, we eat our meals late and sometimes sleep is kind of put by the wayside in terms of how important it is to our overall healthy lifestyle," Dr. Brooke Aggarwal, senior author of the study and assistant professor of medical sciences at Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says.
"Our study really highlights the importance of good, quality sleep for the management of body weight as well as potentially preventing heart disease among women."