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Junk food can interfere with good sleep, study shows

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Avoiding junk food may have benefits aside from a slimmer waistline and better health. It can lead to more quality sleep, researchers say.

A team from Uppsala University in Sweden asked 15 “healthy normal-weight young men” to eat two different kinds of diets – one healthy (low fat and low sugar) and the other unhealthy (high fat and high sugar) – containing the same amount of calories during separate weekly sessions. The participants’ sleep was then monitored each night.

Findings show that all of the participants slept for roughly equal amounts of time, but after eating the healthier diet, they experienced more restorative sleep.

“Essentially, the unhealthy diet resulted in shallower deep sleep,” said study co-author Jonathan Cedernaes, a physician and associate professor at Uppsala. “Similar changes in sleep occur with aging and in conditions such as insomnia. It can be hypothesized, from a sleep perspective, that greater importance should potentially be attached to diet in such conditions.”

The study was published online in the journal Obesity.

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