Study: How you sleep affects what you eat

June 11, 2007 at 5:59 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS, June 11 (UPI) -- How you sleep appears to affect what you eat, U.S. researchers said Monday.

Researchers suggested that people who don't get enough sleep may be too tired to prepare their own meals at home and tend to eat meals at restaurants where attention to nutrition may be lacking.

"Persons with sleep complaints such as insomnia are less likely to eat at home," said Mindy Engle-Friedman, associate professor of psychology at Baruch College of the City University of New York. "These meals outside the home may require less effort and may be less healthful than meals prepared at home."

"Over time, persons with sleep complaints may have ... health problems related to their nutrition," she told United Press International at the 21st annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Minneapolis.

She studied the sleep and diet of 21 healthy undergraduates -- 12 men and 9 women -- for seven days. She found that students who were getting less sleep tended to eat more meals outside the home.

"There are commuting students so they are either preparing meals at home or are eating meals that are prepared by their parents," Engle-Friedman said at her poster presentation during the meeting attended by more than 5,300 healthcare professionals.

"We have found that meals prepared at home are healthier than those in restaurants; the home-cooked meals have less fat and have less salt generally," she said.

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