One group was advised and trained on techniques to improve their sleep while the other received no intervention.
Overall, the group ate an average of 10 grams less of free sugars a day as a result of sleeping longer. They also wore a motion sensor on their wrists that measured exactly how long they were asleep, as well as time spent in bed before falling asleep. The first 21 participants allocated to the sleep extension group undertook a 45-minute sleep consultation.
In saying this, it is important to also note that because the study was just a pilot, further research needs to be done to identify whether or not extending sleeping habits can really be the answer to a healthier weight. The intake of free sugar includes the sugar which is added to foods by manufacturers or while cooking at home.
The study was originally created to investigate whether or not it was possible to successfully help volunteers extend the amount of time they sleep during the evening through a series of tips and pointers.
"Sleeping for longer each night can help people to reduce their intake of sugary foods and maintain a healthier diet, according to new research". On average, the study participants were able to get 90 more minutes of sleep during the seven day trial period.
The results need to be replicated in order to determine if sleep patterns actually caused the differences in diet habits.
The group that got more sleep received a list with suggestions for how to help them get a better night's sleep - such as avoiding caffeine before bedtime, establishing a relaxing routine and not going to bed too full or hungry - as well as a recommended bedtime suited to their lifestyle.
These participants were all people who previously slept less than seven hours a night, the recommended minimum time adults should sleep. She added that it has already been studied previously that poor sleep meant poor diets.
'Sleep duration and quality is an area of increasing public health concern and has been linked as a risk factor for various conditions'. As it turns out, sleeping longer regularly at night could help reduce cravings and intake of sugary foods, a research in United Kingdom has found. Making extended sleep as a regular lifestyle routine could result to a generally healthier diet, according to the study.
He continued that they hope to further examine nutrient intake and sleep patterns, especially in longer-term studies and populations that are at a higher risk of obesity or cardiovascular problems.