Sleep is vital for all people but is particularly important for teenagers as their bodies undergo significant development during their formative years. Unfortunately, most teens aren’t getting enough sleep. Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that 73% of high school students are getting less than the recommended eight to ten hours of sleep each night.
Prior research has linked lack of sleep to increased risk for poor mental health, poor academic performance, and behavioral problems. But new research from BYU conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center says insufficient sleep also increases the risk of weight gain and other cardiometabolic diseases among teenagers because teens have worse dietary habits when they sleep less.
This research, which was recently published in the medical journal Sleep, analyzed the sleeping and eating patterns of 93 teenagers during two sleep conditions: spending six and a half hours each night in bed for one week (short sleep) and spending nine and a half hours each night in bed for another week (healthy sleep). Researchers measured the caloric intake, macronutrient content, food types, and the glycemic load of foods eaten by teens.
The results found that teenagers undergoing short sleep consumed more foods that were likely to spike blood sugar fast – things like foods high in carbs and added sugar, or sugary drinks, compared to when they were in healthy sleep. These changes largely occurred in the late evening (after 9:00 pm). Teens getting short sleep also ate fewer fruits and vegetables across the entire day, compared to healthy sleep.
Release date: 27 December 2021
Source: Brigham Young University