They found that when a group of people who slept less than seven hours a night were helped to get an average of just 21 minutes extra shut-eye, they cut their intake of unhealthy "free", or added, sugars by nearly 10g - a third of their daily allowance. Apart from this, it can also develop other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other obesity and cardiometabolic diseases, the researchers mentioned in the study.
The participants undertook a 45-minute sleep consultation, kept sleep diaries, and wore motion sensors that detected exactly how long they slept for, and how long they spent in bed before falling asleep.
Sidenote: while the sleep extenders increased their sleep duration, their sleep quality decreased (they slept longer, but not better) - perhaps because they needed more time to adjust to their new nighttime routines.
The statistics also implied, but this protracted sleep could have been of the lower grade than the control class and investigators think an amount of adjustment to some new pattern might be required.
Keep drinking water. Dehydration is the primary cause of "shallow" sleep, so while you don't want to wake up needing the loo, take on enough fluids to stop yourself waking up thirsty.
There was no difference in the control group.
All of the participants were asked to record their sleep and dietary patterns for seven days. By the end of the week, the participants were eating less sugar and carbs than at the beginning of the trial. Participants who slept longer also reduced their carbohydrate consumption.
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.
"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", Wendy Hall of King's College London, and senior author of the study, explains.
"Our results also suggest that increasing time in bed for an hour or so longer may lead to healthier food choices", Haya Al Khatib, lead researcher of the study, says. This included advice such as avoiding caffeine before bed time, establishing a relaxing routine and not going to bed too full or hungry, tailored to their personal lifestyle.
This isn't the first study to link diet and sleep.