Eating less at night can prevent some effects of sleep deprivation

6 June 2015

Reducing the amount you eat late at night could help prevent many of the negative effects of sleep deprivation, such as a drop in concentration and alertness.

This is according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, which found that not eating calories in the evening could cancel out the negative impact of sleep restriction.

The research, which is to be presented at Sleep 2015, had 44 participants between the ages of 21 and 50 who were all allowed unlimited access to food and drink during the day but they were only given four hours of sleep. 

On the fourth night, 20 participants continued to get full access to food and drink, while the others were only allowed water from 10pm until they went to bed at 4am.

Study's senior author Dr David F. Dinges, PhD, director of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry and chief of the division of Sleep and Chronobiology, said the research found that refraining from eating at night can prevent "some of the decline those individuals may otherwise experience in neurobehavioral performance during sleep restriction".

Posted by Edward Bartel

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