Having trouble dropping off and waking up during the night were linked to greater food intake and poorer diet. Picture: IANS
Having trouble dropping off and waking up during the night were linked to greater food intake and poorer diet. Picture: IANS

Why women who get a poor night's sleep eat more

By BEN SPENCER Time of article published Feb 19, 2020

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London - Struggling to sleep can be a double negative for women – as it means they also tend to eat more, warned researchers.

Having trouble dropping off and waking up during the night were linked to greater food intake and poorer diet.

Scientists who studied 495 women said those who slept badly ate more fat and sugar, leading to obesity, type two diabetes and heart disease. The findings may be a key reason for the link between bad sleep and bad health, they added.

The academics at Columbia University in New York believe poor sleep alters the way the brain receives hunger signals from the body, triggering the desire to eat or suppressing feelings of being full. 

Researcher Brooke Aggarwal added: "Women are particularly prone to sleep disturbances because they often shoulder the responsibilities of caring for children and family, and later because of menopausal hormones."

For the study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the women aged 20 to 76 kept a food diary and answered questions about their sleep and diet.

Those who took more than an hour to fall asleep each night typically ate 426 calories more daily than those who took under 15 minutes. They also ate more saturated fat.

Those with a greater "insomnia score", meaning they struggled to drop off and then woke in the night, ate 205 more calories daily than those with a low score.

The researchers said their study focused on women as they are more likely to suffer sleep problems and are prone to obesity.

Daily Mail

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