Discover: A new study finds that teenagers who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have serious health issues.
The research, conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, found that fewer hours of sleep can increase the chance of teens eating more carbs and drinking sugary beverages compared to those who are getting enough sleep, said lead author Kara Duraccio in a press release. Duraccio is a professor of clinical and developmental psychology at BYU.
The researchers surveyed 93 students across 30 states for two weeks. For one week, the students slept only six and a half hours. For the other, they slept the recommended nine and a half hours. During this time, researchers also recorded the types of food consumed, including their calorie content, macronutrient content and glycemic load.
Besides the increase in sugar, the data revealed that teens getting fewer hours of sleep consumed fewer fruits and vegetables than their peers. The researchers also noticed that teens were eating the same amount of calories, regardless of how many hours of sleep they got. According to Duraccio, the tired teens were looking for quick bursts of energy and therefore eating foods with higher sugar content.