Science Daily: New research says insufficient sleep increases the risk of weight gain and other cardiometabolic diseases among teenagers because teens have worse dietary habits when they sleep less.

“Shortened sleep increases the risk for teens to eat more carbs and added sugars and drink more sugar-sweetened beverages than when they are getting a healthy amount of sleep,” said Dr. Kara Duraccio, BYU clinical and developmental psychology professor and lead author of the study.

This research, which was recently published in the medical journal SLEEP, analyzed the sleeping and eating patterns of 93 teenagers during two sleep conditions: spending six and a half hours each night in bed for one week (short sleep) and spending nine and a half hours each night in bed for another week (healthy sleep). Researchers measured the caloric intake, macronutrient content, food types, and the glycemic load of foods eaten by teens.

The results found that teenagers undergoing short sleep consumed more foods that were likely to spike blood sugar fast — things like foods high in carbs and added sugar, or sugary drinks, compared to when they were in healthy sleep. These changes largely occurred in the late evening (after 9:00 pm). Teens getting short sleep also ate fewer fruits and vegetables across the entire day, compared to healthy sleep.

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