Late-night fasting reduces effects of sleep deprivation

New York, June 5 (IANS) If you need to stay awake late at night, refraining from munching snacks could help you offset some negative effects of sleep deprivation, new research suggests.

Eating less late at night may help curb the concentration and alertness deficits that accompany sleep deprivation, the findings showed.

“Adults consume approximately 500 additional calories during late-night hours when they are sleep restricted,” said the study’s senior author David Dinges from the University of Pennsylvania.

“Our research found that refraining from late-night calories helps prevent some of the decline those individuals may otherwise experience in neurobehavioural performance during sleep restriction,” Dinges said.

For the study, the researchers gave 44 participants, ages 21 to 50, unlimited access to food and drink during the day, followed by only four hours of sleep each night for three nights.

On the fourth night, 20 participants received continued access to food and drinks, while the rest were allowed to consume only water from 10.00 p.m. until they went to sleep at 4:00 a.m.

Participants who fasted at late night performed better on tests on reaction time and than those who had eaten during those late-night hours. They also suffered fewer attention lapses.

The study is scheduled to be presented at SLEEP 2015, the 29th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies to be held at Seattle in the US from June 6-10.

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