Sleeping more may curb sugar cravings, really

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IS the trick to cutting cravings for sugary foods as simple as getting a good night’s sleep? A new small study from the United Kingdom suggests that may be the case.
It’s no surprise that tossing and turning all night can cause a person to feel tired, cranky and out of sorts the next day. But missing out on the recommended minimum of 7 hours of nightly shut-eye is also linked to various health conditions, such as obesity and cardiometabolic diseases, which include diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to the study, published today (Jan. 9) in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Earlier research has shown that more than one-third of U.S. adults get 6 hours or less of sleep each night — less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours, according to the study. With that in mind, the researchers chose to examine whether a sleep consultation could help adults get more shut-eye and how doing so might affect their daily nutrient intake.
In the study, the researchers recruited 21 individuals to participate in a 45-minute sleep consultation designed to extend their sleep time by up to 1.5 hours per night. Another group of 21 participants were also recruited but did not receive intervention in their sleep patterns, therefore serving as the control group, according to the study.
All of the participants were asked to record their sleep and dietary patterns for seven days. During this time, the participants also wore motion sensors on their wrists that measured the exact amount of sleep they got each night, as well as the amount of time they spent in bed before they actually fell asleep.
The results showed that the participants who increased the amount of sleep they got each night reduced their added sugar intake by as much as 10 grams the next day compared with the amount of sugar they consumed at the beginning of the study. These participants also had a lower daily carbohydrate intake than the group that did not extend their sleep patterns, the study found.
“The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of [added] sugars, by which we mean the sugars that are added to foods by manufacturers or in cooking at home, as well as sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice, suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets,” senior study author Wendy Hall, a senior lecturer in the Department of Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London, said in the statement.
The group that got more sleep received a list with suggestions for how to help them get a better night’s sleep — such as avoiding caffeine before bedtime, establishing a relaxing routine and not going to bed too full or hungry — as well as a recommended bedtime suited to their lifestyle.