A study reported on June 9, 2019 at Nutrition 2019, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, found an association between decreased intake of several nutrients and a greater risk of insufficient sleep.
Chioma Ikonte and colleagues analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2005-2016), which enrolled men and women residing in the U.S. Among subjects 19 years of age and older, 32.7% experienced short sleep, 27.7% had trouble sleeping, 47.3% had poor sleep quality, 8.94 % were affected by a sleep disorder, 15.1% reported insomnia, 37.9% had increased sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep) and 9.3% used sleep medications more than five times during the month prior to reporting the data.
Sleeping less than an average of seven hours per night was associated with a lower intake of vitamins A, B1, B3 and D, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. The number of nutrients associated with poor sleep was higher among women than men; however, this number was reduced if the women used dietary supplements. The study’s results suggested that some nutrients may also play a role in trouble falling asleep, poor sleep quality and sleep disorders.
“This work adds to the body of growing evidence associating specific nutrient intakes with sleep outcomes,” Dr Ikonte stated. “Our findings suggest that individuals with short sleep duration might benefit from improving their intake of these nutrients through diet and supplementation.”
“Whether chronic short sleep causes nutrient insufficiency or the nutrient insufficiency causes short sleep still needs to be determined,” Dr Ikonte added. “A clinical study that investigates [impacts of] supplementation with these nutrients on sleep outcomes is needed to demonstrate cause and effect.”