Will sleeping for longer help me to eat more healthily?

A woman sleeping peacefully

BHF dietitian Victoria Taylor says:

Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Regularly getting less than this can affect your health in a number of ways.

Research suggests people who sleep for less than seven hours a night have a higher risk of becoming obese. It’s thought that this is because sleep deprivation affects hormones in our bodies that influence our appetite.

Sleep deprivation affects hormones in our bodies that influence our appetite

Recent research from King's College London looked at whether increasing how much we sleep might help us eat more healthily.

This was a small study with only 42 participants, but researchers found that extending the sleep of people who regularly had less than seven hours a night helped to reduce their intake of sugary foods and drinks.

If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, there are some simple things you can do. Make sure your room is cool, quiet and comfortable, establish a relaxing bedtime routine, limit caffeine in the evening and avoid screens before bed.

Being active during the day is also important to help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke – and will probably help you sleep better too.

Victoria TaylorMeet the expert

Victoria Taylor is a registered dietitian with 20 years’ experience. Her work for the NHS focused on weight management and community programmes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. She leads the BHF's work on nutrition.

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