Link Discovered Between Sleep Disorders and Highly Processed Foods – Health –


New evidence suggests that consuming highly processed foods may promote chronic sleep problems.
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New evidence suggests that consuming highly processed foods may promote chronic sleep problems.

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

Nutritional and sleep disorders

These foods include, but are not limited to, frozen pizza, pastries, deli meats, desserts, and microwave meals. Many synthetic additives in these products are thought to 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 long period of time. The aim of the study was to analyze the relationship between highly processed food intake and sleep disorders, taking into account factors such as lifestyle and mental health.

A new look at causes

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

Principal researcher Marie-Pierre St-Onge emphasizes the relevance of this research: “With the increase in the number of highly processed foods and the number of sleep disorders, it is important to understand how our diet affects the quality of sleep.”

Implementation and results

Between 2013 and 2015, study participants were regularly asked to record their eating and sleeping habits. About 19.4 percent of the participants suffered from chronic insomnia. Additionally, participants consumed an average of 16 percent of their daily calories from unprocessed foods. Notably, a higher intake of highly processed foods is associated with a higher likelihood of chronic insomnia. This trend was seen in both men and women, with men at slightly higher risk.

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Data description

The results suggest that consumption of highly processed foods is associated with sleep disorders. However, it is not clear whether these foods directly cause sleep disorders or whether other factors play a role. A direct causal link could not be demonstrated.

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