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Caloric intake negatively influences healthy adults' sleep patterns

WESTCHESTER, Ill. Caloric intake negatively influences sleep patterns in healthy adults, according to a research abstract that will be presented on Tuesday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, authored by Ion Zalcman, of Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, focused on 52 healthy volunteers between 20-45 years of age. Food intake was analyzed by a three-day food record. An overnight polysomnogram, or sleep test, was performed to determine the sleep pattern.

According to the results, positive and statistically significant correlations were found between total energy intake and late-night snack energy intake and awakenings during sleep. Similarly, total energy intake and late-night snack energy intake were significantly correlated with apnea-hypopnea index.

Previous studies have demonstrated that circadian distribution of food intake is capable of modifying endocrine and metabolic patterns during sleep. However, studies of the influence of food intake distribution on sleep pattern are scarce. This study, which analyzed the influence of energy intake on the sleep patterns in healthy subjects, concluded that total energy intake and late-night snack energy intake may increase sleep fragmentation in healthy subjects, which might increase the effects of sleep restriction on nutritional and metabolic balance. New studies on this area are needed to better understand theses associations, said Zalcman.

It is recommended that adults get between seven and eight hours of nightly sleep.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good nights sleep:

  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine.

  • Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.

  • Get a full nights sleep every night.

  • Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.

  • Do not bring your worries to bed with you.

  • Do not go to bed hungry, but dont eat a big meal before bedtime either.

  • Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.

  • Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.

  • Get up at the same time every morning.

Those who suspect that they might be suffering from a sleep disorder are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.


Contact: Kathleen McCann
American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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