Eating unhealthily and drinking too much soft drink has been linked with poor sleep among teens across the world, a study has found.
The University of Queensland’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences researcher Associate Professor Asad Khan said the world first study examined unhealthy diets and stress-related sleep disturbances in students across 64 countries.
“Overall, 7.5 per cent of adolescents reported stress-related sleep disturbance, which was more common among females than males.
“Sleep disturbance increased with more frequent consumption of carbonated soft drinks, that often contain caffeine, and/or fast foods, that are traditionally energy-dense and nutrient-poor.
“Teens who drank more than three soft drinks per day had 55 per cent higher odds of reporting sleep disturbance than those who only drank one soft drink a day.
“Males who ate fast foods on more than four days per week had 55 per cent higher odds of reporting sleep disturbance than those who only ate fast food once a week, while the odds were 49 per cent higher in females.
“Frequent consumption of soft drinks more than three times a day, and fast foods more than four days per week, were significantly associated with sleep disturbance in all but low-income countries.”
Dr Khan said the findings were concerning because of the adverse impacts on teens.
“As stress-related sleep disturbance was more common among girls than boys, girls should be a priority target group for associated interventions that could target stress management and sleep quality.
“Creating school environments to limit access to carbonated soft drinks and fast foods, and introducing a sugar tax to lessen the sales of soft drinks may be beneficial.”