Summer 2015

Eat, Sleep and Be Healthy

Well-rested adults tend to eat better, study finds

The research is pretty clear that people who regularly get enough sleep have healthier body weights than people who skimp on shut-eye. Whether that is because sleep keeps weight in check, people with better body weights sleep more soundly or some other reason is unknown.

Hassan Dashti, Ph.D., N12, N15, may have found a connection between sleeping and the food choices people make that helps explain it.

SleepingFor a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, he looked at nearly 15,000 people from several countries and compared how much sleep they usually get each night to the fat, protein and carbohydrates in their diets.

He found that younger adults who reported sleeping more tended to eat less saturated fat than their less-rested peers. Older women who slept more reported eating fewer carbohydrates and more polyunsaturated fat.

“Our results suggest that the connection between sleep and weight may be partly due to food choices,” Dashti said. “The results consistently suggest that better-rested adults tend to have healthier intakes, particularly related to fat intake, than those sleeping fewer hours.”

Working in the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, Dashti also looked at mutations in a gene called CLOCK (Circadian Locomotor Output Cycles Kaput), which affects circadian rhythms, helps control appetite and has been associated with body weight.

While the results weren’t statistically significant, he did find some evidence suggesting that for people with a certain CLOCK mutation, getting regular sleep could ameliorate a genetic predisposition to obesity.

“Achieving sufficient sleep may improve their diets, and by doing so, potentially reduce their risk of becoming obese,” Dashti said.

Top Stories

Shifting America’s Diet

Factions continue to duke it out over what the nation’s dietary guidelines should be, but the scientists have had their say: less meat, less sugar, and please, eat your veggies

Breaking the Veiled Ceiling

Yasmin Altwaijri is blazing a trail for epidemiology and for Saudi women in science

Enough Food for All

The answer to how to feed the growing global population has to include small-scale agriculture, not just factory farms

Feed Your Stem Cells

Is nutrition the future of brain health? Neuroscientist Dennis Steindler says yes

Editor's Picks

Not Supersized, but Still Not Good

A hundred extra calories a day can pile on 10 pounds in a year

Eat, Sleep and Be Healthy

Well-rested adults tend to eat better, study finds

Scared Straight

Inmates take a hard look at their delinquent diets

Me and My Study

Research volunteers embrace life in the cohort

Why So Good?

The science behind yogurt’s aura of health