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Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Sep;100(3):938-47. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.085191. Epub 2014 Jul 23.

Association of self-reported sleep duration with eating behaviors of American adults: NHANES 2005-2010.

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From the Department of Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, Queens College of the City University of New York, Flushing, NY (AKK), and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Biostatistics Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD (BIG).



Published evidence suggests an inverse association between sleep duration and body weight status.


We examined the association of sleep duration with eating behaviors reported by adult Americans to understand the relation between sleep duration and body weight status.


This cross-sectional study used sleep duration and dietary data from the continuous NHANES conducted from 2005 to 2010 (n = 15,199, age ≥20 y). Eating behaviors examined included the following: reporting of and energy from main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and snacks (before breakfast, after dinner, and after 2000 h), intermeal intervals, time of day of main meal reporting, and intakes of macronutrients and beverages. Multiple regression methods were used to examine the independent association of hours of sleep duration grouped as short (≤6 h), average (7-8 h), and long (≥9 h) with eating behavior outcomes.


Relative to average-duration sleepers, a smaller percentage of short-duration sleepers mentioned breakfast, lunch (women only), and dinner in the recall (P ≤ 0.04). They also reported a lower mean percentage of energy from main meals but higher energy from all snacks (P ≤ 0.0004) and after 2000 h (P = 0.03). Short-duration sleepers reported the earliest eating time of the first episode and the latest time of the last eating episode. Absolute amounts of sugar and caffeine and percentage of energy from beverages (women only) were higher in short-duration sleepers. However, the total number of eating episodes and energy intake were not related with sleep duration.


Short-duration sleepers began eating earlier and ended their eating later in the day, but despite the longer eating period, they did not report more eating events. Profiles of the relative contribution of main meals and snacks, at or after 2000 h eating, and beverages in short-duration sleepers were suggestive of eating behaviors that may increase energy intake, but 24-h energy intake did not differ among categories of sleep duration.

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