Sleep Duration and Quality in Relation to Fruit and Vegetable Intake of US Young Adults: a Secondary Analysis

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International journal of behavioral medicine


BACKGROUND: Sleep is gaining recognition as a determinant of diet, yet this relationship remains understudied among young adults. We sought to examine how sleep duration and quality were related to fruit and vegetable (FV) intake within a diverse sample of young adults.

METHODS: Participants (n = 1444) ages 21-30 (69% women, 15% African American, 35% full or part time in college) consuming < 5 servings/day of FV (eligibility criteria) completed a baseline survey to enroll in a randomized online FV intervention. Sleep questions included duration, perceived sleep quality, time to fall asleep, and insomnia symptoms. Overall and gender-stratified linear regression models compared average daily FV intake and sleep characteristics, adjusting for confounders.

RESULTS: One-third (32%) of the participants reported < 7 h of sleep per night, and 36% noted insomnia symptoms ≥ 3 times per week. Women, a BMI > 30, African American race/ethnicity, less education, unemployment, higher depression, and stress were related to suboptimal sleep. Bivariate analyses showed that better sleep was associated with higher FV intake. After accounting for confounders, men with better sleep quality and shorter time to fall asleep had higher intakes of FV (1.12 serving/day difference in highest versus lowest quality [95% CI 0.48, 1.75] and a 0.52 serving/day higher intake difference for shortest versus longest fall asleep time [95% CI 0.90, 0.15], respectively).

CONCLUSION: Sleep was highly prevalent in a diverse sample of community-based young adults and may contribute to lower FV intake among men. These associations highlight young adulthood as an important period for promoting healthy sleep habits.

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ePub ahead of print