There is a well-known relationship between when we eat and body’s circadian rhythm. New research from UCSI University in Malaysia is looking at how this relationship—known as chrononutrition—relates to sleep quality and melatonin rhythm during pregnancy.

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For the study, the researchers examined meal timing, meal frequency, eating window, breakfast skipping, and night eating for 114 women who were pregnant for the first time. They found that women who ate less frequently or who consumed lower amounts of fat during dinner compared to breakfast and lunch were more likely to have poor sleep quality. Eating closer to bedtime was associated with peak melatonin levels that occurred outside of the usual mid-sleep peak. The findings suggest that unfavorable characteristics of chrononutrition may alter circadian melatonin rhythm during pregnancy and contribute to poor sleep.

Ai Ni Teoh presented this research at NUTRITION 2021 LIVE ONLINE.

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