A recent study examining the impact quality sleep has on dietary choices paints a compelling picture for striving to get a deep and restful night’s sleep.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, tracked an ethnically diverse group of 495 women ranging in age from 20 to 76 years old. The focus of the research was collecting and examining data on sleep quality (how well the participants slept, how long it took them to fall asleep, and so on) and how it related to diet quality (what food choices participants made, how much they ate, when they ate, etc.)
The takeaway? Women in the study consistently ate more (and less nutritious) food the more disrupted their sleep was. From a Columbia University press release about the study:
“Poor sleep quality may lead to excessive food and calorie intake by stimulating hunger signals or suppressing signals of fullness,” says Faris Zuraikat, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and lead author of the study. “Fullness is largely affected by the weight or volume of food consumed, and it could be that women with insomnia consume a greater amount of food in an effort to feel full.”
While the researchers acknowledge that further study is needed and there is possibly a chicken-and-egg scenario at play (eating poorly could disrupt sleep and lead to a cycle of poor sleep followed by poor dietary choices) it certainly paints a compelling argument for getting a good night’s sleep in light of other health and cognitive complications stemming from chronic exhaustion.
So before you try to tackle your diet routine, tackle your bedtime routine so you can face the day refreshed and ready to make better (and easier) choices about what to eat.