BACKGROUND: The increased risk of obesity among short sleepers is most likely explained by increased energy intake. However, food intake could not only be altered quantitavely but also qualitatively. Therefore, we performed a correlational analysis on self-reported food intake and sleep in 51 students from Maastricht and surroundings.
RESULTS: Students that slept longer had a lower caloric intake: ρ = -0.378, p = 0.006, the amount of calories consumed per minute awake remaining relatively stable. However, sleep duration did not correlate with intake of percentage fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates or protein. Average energy intake during the reported breakfasts, lunches, dinners or snacks separately did also not correlate with total sleep time.
CONCLUSION: It seems that shorter sleep correlates with absolute caloric intake, but not with the intake of specific dietary components.