Can how and what you eat affect how long you sleep?


We all know there is nothing as sumptuous (or healthy) as a good night’s rest.  A recent study from the Perelman School of Medicine revealed some new revelations about food and sleep.   Researchers revealed some nutrients and calorie levels may impact the length of sleep and that those who consumed a variety of foods had better sleep patterns (1).  This may lend more evidence and strength to the “consume a variety of foods for better health” mantra that most dietitians and nutritionists recommend.

To gain more insight, the research team gathered data from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), NHANES is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it typically combines interviews and physical examinations (2).

Researchers used the survey question pertaining to how much sleep each individual reported on a daily basis. Sleep patterns were divided into four groups based on hours of sleep per night—Very Short (< 5 ) Short (5-6),  Standard (7-8) and Long (9 or more). The researchers also looked at factors that may have affected differences in the sleep groups, such as diet, weight, socioeconomic, physical activity and others (1).

Results revealed that the short sleepers had the highest caloric content, while normal sleepers had more food variety and very short sleepers had the lowest food variety (1). While this evidence is fairly new, more studies could be performed to better understand the differences in sleep patterns and possible links to certain nutrients in the diet. For more information pertaining to specific nutrient consumption found in the groups, read the full article here.


  1. Michael A. Grandner, Nicholas J. Jackson, Jason R. Gerstner, Kristen L. Knutson. Dietary nutrients associated with short and long sleep duration. Data from a nationally representative sample. Appetite, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.01.004
  2. National health and nutrition examination survey., Accessed April 16, 2013.
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