From Short Sleep to Sugary Drinks

Sleep habits may be tied to sugar-sweetened beverage consumption

(RxWiki News) Getting less sleep may be tied to drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), according to a new study.

The University of California - San Francisco researchers behind this study found that those who slept fewer hours a night were more likely to drink more SSBs, which include sugar-sweetened sodas and non-carbonated sugary drinks like energy drinks.

This study looked at data from a survey of more than 18,000 participants. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) gathered data on sleep duration and the type of beverages consumed.

Those who slept five or fewer hours per night consumed on average 21 percent more SSBs than those who slept for seven to eight hours. Those who slept six hours per night drank 11 percent more SSBs than those getting a fuller night's sleep.

"Short sleepers may seek out caffeinated sugar-sweetened beverages to increase alertness and stave off daytime sleepiness," said lead study author Dr. Aric A. Prather, an assistant professor at UC San Francisco, in a press release. "However, it's not clear whether drinking such beverages affects sleep patterns, or if people who don't sleep much are more driven to consume them."

Dr. Prather noted that both sleeping too little and drinking too many SSBs have been tied to health problems like obesity.

The study data were based on self-reporting, which could possibly limit this study.

The study authors noted that their research could not establish a cause-and-effect relationship and called for further research. Speak with your doctor about healthy sleep and diet habits. 

This study was published in Sleep Health.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded this research. Dr. Prather received consulting fees from Posit Science on an unrelated project.