Do you regularly lie awake at night struggling to fall asleep? While everyone is bound to experience at least a few restless nights during their life, a chronic sleep disorder can have a ripple effect on your health. A new study, in fact, has found a correlation between sleep disorders and poor eating habits.
According to the study, people who suffer from a sleep disorder tend to consume more calories, as well as more junk food, than their counterparts who don’t have trouble falling or staying asleep.
For the study, a team of medical researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) recruited over 400 women, all of whom were asked to complete a series of questionnaires regarding their sleeping and dieting habits over a one-year period. Participants were asked what foods they regularly consumed, the size of their food portions and whether they suffered from a sleep disorder.
Researchers found that participants who suffered from a sleep disorder were more likely to consume an excessive amount of sugar, saturated fat and caffeine than participants who didn’t suffer from a sleep disorder.
In total, about one in three participants said they suffered from a sleep disorder. After reviewing their answers, researchers discovered that these participants consumed up to 800 more calories than their counterparts. Furthermore, participants who suffered from a sleep disorder were more likely to consume foods high in sugar and unhealthy fat and less likely to consume foods high in whole grains.
Both sugar and unhealthy fat have been linked to heart disease. Therefore, sleep disorders may indirectly contribute to heart disease by compelling people to consume more of these substances.
Some people assume that sleep disorders only cause fatigue. While fatigue is a hallmark symptom, prolonged lack of sleep can affect your health in other ways, such as promoting poor eating habits.