Poor sleep for teens eating badly

Soft drink was one of the culprits.

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.”