“We believe there may be a positive feedback loop where sugary drinks and sleep loss reinforce each other, making it more difficult for people to eliminate their unhealthy sugar habit,” said Aric A Prather, assistant professor of University of California, San Francisco.
“These data suggest that improving people’s sleep could help them get out of the cycle and reduce their sugar intake, which we know to be linked to metabolic disease,” added Prather.
To understand if this is a more general pattern in the adult population, researchers in the study published in the journal Sleep Health analyzed the records of about 18,000 participants.
The study included participants’ reports about how much sleep they usually received during the workweek, as well as their total consumption of various beverages, including caffeinated and non-caffeinated sugary drinks, fruit juice, artificial sweeteners and plain coffee, Tea and water.
Researchers found that people who slept regularly for five or less hours a night also drank 21 percent more caffeinated sugary beverages, including sodas and non-carbonated energy drinks, than those sleeping seven to eight hours a night.
People who slept six hours a night regularly consumed 11 percent more caffeinated sugary drinks. On the other hand, the team found no association between sleep duration and consumption of juice, tea or diet drinks.
“Sleeping too little and drinking too many sugary drinks has been linked to negative health outcomes, including obesity,” added Prather.
Improving duration and quality of sleep could be a useful new intervention to improve the health and well-being of people who drink many sugary drinks, the study suggests.