The Sleep and Sugary Drink Connection

A new study, led by UC San Francisco scientists, reveals that people who sleep five or fewer hours a night are likely to also drink significantly more sugary caffeinated drinks, such as sodas and energy drinks.  It is not clear whether drinking sugar sweetened beverages causes people to sleep less or whether lack of proper sleep make people more vulnerable to using sugar and caffeine to stay awake.  It’s likely that both explanations are true.

Multiple research studies have linked sugary beverage consumption to metabolic syndrome, which is a group of medical conditions that include high blood sugar and excess body fat, which can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes. 

Scientists analyzed the records of 18,779 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES), an ongoing national study of dietary habits and health.   The researchers found that:

  • People who regularly slept five or fewer hours per night also drank 21 percent more caffeinated sugar-sweetened beverages ( including both sodas and non-carbonated energy drinks ) than those who slept seven to eight hours a night. 
  •  People who slept six hours per night regularly consumed 11 percent more caffeinated sugar-sweetened beverages than those who slept seven to eight hours a night.

No conclusion could be definitively made about cause and effect.  But this study shows that there is a strong correlation between sub-optimal sleep levels and increased intake of sugar sweetened beverages.  Scientists safely conclude that sleeping too little and drinking too many sugary drinks have both been linked to negative metabolic health outcomes, including obesity.

Source:  UCSF NewsCenter 

Post submitted by Arleen Temer-Wittcoff, a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at OrthoHealth - Illinois Bone and Joint Institute