Late-night snacking may negatively influence sleep patterns in healthy adults, according to a new study by researchers at the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
The study, authored by Ioná Zalcman, of Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, focused on 52 healthy volunteers between 20-45 years of age.
Food intake was analyzed by a three-day food record. An overnight polysomnogram, or sleep test, was performed to determine the sleep pattern.
According to the results, positive and statistically significant correlations were found between total energy intake and late-night snack energy intake and awakenings during sleep.
Similarly, total energy intake and late-night snack energy intake were significantly correlated with apnea-hypopnea index.
"Previous studies have demonstrated that circadian distribution of food intake is capable of modifying endocrine and metabolic patterns during sleep. However, studies of the influence of food intake distribution on sleep pattern are scarce," said Zalcman.
"This study, which analyzed the influence of energy intake on the sleep patterns in healthy subjects, concluded that total energy intake and late-night snack energy intake may increase sleep fragmentation in healthy subjects, which might increase the effects of sleep restriction on nutritional and metabolic balance. New studies on this area are needed to better understand theses associations."