A new study out of the University of Adelaide has found that men who take in high-fat diets are more likely to report having problems sleeping at night, feeling excessive daytime sleepiness, and are more likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea.
This study, titled the Men Androgen Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress (MAILES) study, aimed to review the link between sleep and a high-fat diet, which was ultimately conducted by the Population Research and Outcome Studies unit at the University of Adelaide School of Medicine. The Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health played a role in conducting the research as well.
More than 1800 Australian men between the ages of 35 and 80 were part of the study, which included an analysis of their dietary habits over a one-year period. The results have been published in the journal, Nutrients.
One of the study’s authors from the University of Adelaide, Yingting Cao, said that even after adjusting for lifestyle factors, chronic diseases, and demographics, the results still showed that those who consumed a higher fat diet were more likely to have excessive daytime sleepiness.
Cao believes that these results have significant implications for concentration and alertness, which, of course, is of great concern to employers and employees. In addition to these findings of excessive daytime sleepiness, Cao and her team found that men taking in high-fat diets were also more likely to have a diagnosis or suffer from sleep apnea.
Overall, the research showed that 41% of men who had dietary and sleep data available to review reported excessive daytime sleepiness, and 47% of men reported having poor sleep quality at night. Mild to moderate sleep apnea was reported in 54% of participates, and 25% were found to have moderate to severe sleep apnea. This was determined through a sleep study in those who had a previously reported diagnosis of sleep apnea.
The poor diet and sleep pattern is a vicious cycle, Cao and her colleagues say. Feeling sleepy throughout the day because of poor sleep leads to one having less energy, which in turn is related to increased cravings of high-fat and sugary foods, which is further associated with poor sleep.
Quite simply, these results yield a common-sense message, and the researchers believe it is important for people to pay attention to it. Frankly, they believe we need to have a healthier diet to have better sleep and more energy, which ultimately leads to higher concentration and daytime productivity. Unfortunately, sleep quality is not often a consideration in the investigation of how the body is affected by various diets and weight loss.
Cao and the other researchers are hopeful that their work will help educate and guide interventional studies, which would enable people to lose weight in a healthy way, while also improving their sleep.
Author: Rachael Herman is a professional writer with an extensive background in medical writing, research, and language development. Her hobbies include hiking in the Rockies, cooking, and reading.