After carrying out this study, they reduce their unhealthy sugars intake by 10kg equivalent, which is also the equivalent of half a slice of cake with icing, or three chocolate digestives. This was found out by researchers from King's College London. They were divided into two groups and then trained one of the groups in good sleeping practices. Their goal was to extend each volunteer's nightly rest by up 1.5 hours. Good sleep advice also included avoidance of caffeine before sleep time and also starting on a relaxing routine.
Then the team asked all the participants to maintain a record of their sleep and dietary patterns for seven days. They wore motion sensors on their person during the week.
The study was relatively small in scale - only 42 adults participated in it - but the results are actually quite interesting. Individuals who were able to successfully increase their sleep times consumed far less sugar the following day.
They also noticed trends for reduced intake of total carbohydrates reported by the sleep extension group.
The team found that, of those who were given the advice, 86 per cent spent more time in bed, and around half than they used to.
Of those receiving sleep advice, 86 percent increased time spent in bed, and half increased their sleep duration (ranging from 52 minutes to almost 90 minutes). It also includes the sugar present in honey, syrups and fruit juices as well.
The data also suggested, however, that this extended sleep may have been of lesser quality than the control group and researchers believe that a period of adjustment to any new routine may be required.
It's not clear exactly why sleeping more improves our diets in this way but the researchers think it's probably a combination of two things: more time in bed leaves less time for late-night snacks while the less exhausted we are the less we crave sugary foods such as ice cream and chocolates to make us feel better.
"We hope to investigate this finding further with longer-term studies examining nutrient intake and continued adherence to sleep extension behaviours in more detail".
A new study has done the reverse by demonstrating, to the surprise of the researchers, that improved sleep has positive effects on diet. Lead researcher Haya Al Khatib added: "Sleep duration and quality is an area of increasing. As a guide we should be aiming for around eight hours of sleep a night", said Victoria Taylor, a senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation.