Skip to main content

15-08-2012 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Food preferences influence sleep patterns, metabolic health


Free abstract

MedWire News: The relationship between short sleep duration and the development of metabolic abnormalities may be partly influenced by food preferences, show study findings.

The analysis revealed that a preference for high energy-dense food may partly explain the effects of short sleep duration on the incidence of obesity and cardiovascular diseases, say Aline Alves Santana (Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo, Brazil) and colleagues.

The team examined the sleep patterns and dietary habits of 58 obese individuals (body mass index [BMI] 30.0-39.9 kg/m2) with heart disease who were attending the Institute of Cardiology in Sao Paulo.

As reported in Lipids in Health and Disease, a questionnaire on nocturnal sleep duration showed that the average sleep duration among men was 6.8 hours and among women was 6.5 hours.

Compared with women, mean measures of body weight, height, and waist circumference were a significant 14%, 8%, and 6% greater, respectively, in men.

In addition, dietary recall of routine food intake showed that men also had a 12%, 22%, and 49% greater intake of calories, protein and monounsaturated fatty acids, respectively.

Among the men, the team also found a significant negative association between sleep duration and protein, monounsaturated fatty acids, and cholesterol intake, at correlation coefficients of -0.43, -0.40, and -0.50, respectively, whereas no significant positive or negative associations between sleep duration and nutritional intake were observed among women.

"As reported in other studies, short sleepers have a higher energy intake, suggesting that short sleepers may be more susceptible to weight gain and obesity," say the researchers.

Furthermore, a large worldwide-scale survey conducted in 2002 that aimed to raise awareness of the health benefits of sleep, showed that Brazil was classified as the country with the highest prevalence of symptoms associated with sleep disturbances.

These findings motivate us to promote nutrition education and guidance on the importance of quality and duration of sleep and its relationship to health, concludes the team.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Sally Robertson, MedWire Reporter