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Discovering a link between sleep disorders and highly processed foods – Health –

Discovering a link between sleep disorders and highly processed foods – Health –


New evidence suggests that eating highly processed foods can lead to chronic sleep problems.
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New evidence suggests that eating highly processed foods can lead to chronic sleep problems.

A recent study discovered a possible link between consumption of highly processed foods and the development of chronic insomnia.

Nutrition and sleep disorders

These foods include, but are not limited to, frozen pizza, pastries, deli meats, desserts, and microwave meals. It is believed that the many artificial additives in these products may play a role in the development of sleep problems.

Study with a large number of participants

In Germany, about six million people suffer from chronic insomnia. To better understand the impact of diet on sleep disorders, more than 39,000 adults in France were studied over a longer period of time. The aim of the study was to analyze the relationship between eating ultra-processed foods and sleep disorders, taking into account factors such as lifestyle and mental health.

A new perspective on causes

Previous studies have shown that a deficiency of certain nutrients such as proteins or magnesium can negatively affect sleep. However, the current study goes further by focusing on food processing quality.

Marie-Pierre Saint-Onge, lead researcher, emphasizes the importance of this research: “Given the increasing prevalence of highly processed foods and the large number of sleep disorders, it is important to understand how our diet can affect sleep quality.”

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Implementation and results

Between 2013 and 2015, study participants were regularly asked to record their diet and sleep habits. It was found that about 19.4% of the participants suffered from chronic insomnia. In addition, participants consumed an average of 16% of daily calories from unprocessed foods. Strikingly, a higher intake of highly processed foods was associated with a greater likelihood of developing chronic insomnia. This trend has been observed in both men and women, with men having a slightly higher risk.

Data interpretation

The results suggest a relationship between consumption of highly processed foods and sleep disorders. However, it is still unclear whether these foods are the direct cause of sleep disturbances or whether other factors play a role. A direct causal relationship could not be proven.