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Sleep troubles linked to diet

People who have trouble sleeping tend to eat unhealthily and could suffer from obesity and other health complaints, research suggests.

Mindy Engle-Friedman and team asked 21 men and women to record their sleep and eating patterns for a week.

Participants who reported trouble getting to sleep and waking up were more likely to eat restaurant-prepared or fast food rather than homemade food.

"These meals require less effort and may be less healthful than meals prepared at home," says Engle-Friedman.

"Over time, persons with sleep complaints may have weight or health problems related to their nutrition."

Scientists say the lack of nutritional value in unhealthy "fast food" can cause long-term health problems. Sleep can affect a person's physical health, emotional well-being, mental abilities, productivity and performance.

Experts recommend that adults should get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health and optimum performance.

The scientists conclude that people who believe they have a sleep disorder should consult their primary care physician who may refer them on to a sleep specialist.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine