Some figures have suggested that more than a third of adults in the UK are not getting enough sleep. But the impact of your sleep pattern on lifestyle is about more than just avoiding the mid-afternoon slump.
Sleep duration and quality is an area of increasing public health concern and has been linked as a risk factor for various conditions. We have shown that sleep habits can be changed with relative ease in healthy adults using a personalised approach.
– Haya Al Khatib, lead researcher from the Department of Nutritional Sciences
Researchers at King’s have found that sleeping for longer each night is a simple lifestyle intervention that could help reduce intake of sugary foods and lead to a generally healthier diet overall.
Sleep is a modifiable risk factor for various conditions including obesity and cardio-metabolic disease. The study looked at the feasibility of increasing sleep hours in adults who typically slept for less than the recommended minimum for adults of seven hours.
Alongside this, the researchers undertook a pilot investigation that looked at the impact of increasing sleep hours on nutrient intake. They found that extending sleep patterns through improved ‘sleep hygiene’ behaviours (such as avoiding caffeine and establishing a routine) resulted in a 10-gram reduction in reported intake of free sugars compared to baseline levels.
The researchers also noticed trends for reduced intake of total carbohydrates reported by the sleep extension group.
The principal investigator, Dr Wendy Hall, from the Department of Nutritional Sciences observed: ‘The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of free 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.’
Lead researcher, Haya Al Khatib, from the Department of Nutritional Sciences commented: ‘Sleep duration and quality is an area of increasing public health concern and has been linked as a risk factor for various conditions. We have shown that sleep habits can be changed with relative ease in healthy adults using a personalised approach.’
For the full news story, visit the King’s website.
For more information about studying in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, visit the online prospectus.