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Daytime sleepiness is associated with an increased craving for carbs among teens

Date:
June 15, 2011
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
In a new study, the intensity of self-reported craving for carbohydrates among 262 high school seniors increased in a linear relationship with the severity of subjective daytime sleepiness. The odds of having a strong craving for carbs were 50 percent higher among those with excessive daytime sleepiness. The rate of depression also was higher among students who had a strong craving for carbohydrates (34 percent) than among students who had little or no craving for carbs (22 percent).

Sleepy teens are more likely to have a strong craving for carbohydrates, suggests a research abstract being presented in Minneapolis, Minn., at SLEEP 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

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Results show that the intensity of self-reported craving for carbohydrates increased in a linear relationship with the severity of subjective daytime sleepiness. The odds of having a strong craving for carbs were 50 percent higher among high school seniors with excessive daytime sleepiness. The rate of depression also was higher among students who had a strong craving for carbohydrates (34 percent) than among students who had little or no craving for carbs (22 percent). Students experiencing strong depression were almost three times more likely to have a strong craving for carbohydrates.

"This is one of the first studies in a high school population to show a linear relationship between carbohydrate craving and sleep deprivation," said principal investigator Dr. Mahmood Siddique, director of Sleep and Wellness Medical Associates and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. "In particular, as sleep deprivation increased, self-reported carbohydrate craving also increased. Further, the risk of carbohydrate craving was especially strong among depressed students."

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that daytime sleepiness is common among teens, who often struggle to get enough sleep at night. Most teens need a little more than nine hours of nightly sleep to feel alert and well-rested during the day.

The study involved 262 high school seniors attending a public high school in Mercer County, N.J. They had a mean age of 17.7 years. Participating students completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), a validated depression scale, and a scale to gauge carbohydrate craving. Twelve percent of students reported the highest level of craving for carbs.

According to Siddique, sleep plays an important role in the regulation of metabolism and appetite. Insufficient sleep can throw the metabolic system out of balance, affecting dietary choices and promoting weight gain.

"This study is important given the rising epidemic of obesity among teens as well as increasing metabolic syndrome and diabetes among young adult populations," Siddique said. "This study highlights the importance of diagnosing sleep deprivation as a risk factor for obesity among young adults. Those who are depressed and sleep-deprived may be at special risk for obesity."


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Daytime sleepiness is associated with an increased craving for carbs among teens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614101246.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2011, June 15). Daytime sleepiness is associated with an increased craving for carbs among teens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614101246.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Daytime sleepiness is associated with an increased craving for carbs among teens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614101246.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

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