Study links people who don't get enough sleep to poor nutrition

Poor sleep has been linked to poor nutrition, but it's unclear why the two may appear together. The association between the issues was revealed in a study that looked at National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, according to the American Society for Nutrition, which found that people who sleep less than seven hours per night may also lack adequate levels of vital nutrients.

According to the CDC, adults should get more than seven hours of sleep per night to maintain their health. The new study found that US adults who got less than that number also, on average, consumed less nutrients like vitamins D and A, zinc, niacin, and more.

A number of minerals and vitamins are vital for health, but aren't produced by the human body. Someone with a poor diet may be lacking in at least one of these micronutrients, eventually leading to disruption in normal bodily functions, or possibly the development of diseases or other problems.

In addition to a link between poor sleep and poor nutrition, the study found that more nutrients were linked to poor sleep in women; taking dietary supplements reduced the number, according to the study, hinting at a potential benefit from supplementing to fill the nutritional gaps in one's diet.

The findings will be revealed by the study's lead author Chioma Ikonte at the annual American Society for Nutrition meeting. The nature of the study means the researchers were unable to determine whether someone suffers poor sleep quality as a consequence of poor nutrition, or if poor sleep quality eventually leads to nutritional deficits.