Junk food is not considered healthy but still, people manage to satisfy their food cravings from time to time. A research team from the University of Queensland have reported that eating too much junk food can affect the sleep quality of young people. If ignored, junk food can even cause sleep-related disorders in teenagers.
This study is now published in EClinical Medicine by The Lancet.
The research team from UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences led by Dr. Asad Khan reveals that consuming junk food and beverages is associated with sleep-related problems in youngsters all over the world. Although it is a commonly observed phenomenon this is the first time that a study has evaluated the link between junk food and sleep disorders on an international level. This current study has evaluated school-age teenagers from at least 64 countries.
Nearly 7.5% of teenagers reported that they are experiencing sleep-related problems and surprisingly, they were observed more in girls than boys.
These sleeping problems increase more when a person starts eating junk food and fizzy drinks, carbonated beverages, or deep-fried food. All of these foods are usually nutrition less and don’t help the body by anyways.
Teenagers who were drinking more than three soda cans daily had 55% higher chances of experiencing sleeping disorders as compared to other teenagers who were taking only one drink can per day.
Boys who were eating junk food four days or more every week were also at a 55% higher increase in these sleeping problems in comparison with those who ate it only once every week. These odds are also higher in girls, reporting a 49% higher risk. These trends are more prevalent in low-income countries.
The data used to extract these results was extracted from the World Health Organization’s Global School-based Health Surveys (2009 to 2016). The total number of students in this study were 175,261 from the ages of 12 to 15 years. These students belonged to 64 different countries, including low-income countries, high-income countries, and middle-income countries from different parts of South East Asia, South America, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Africa.
Most of the teenagers from these high-income countries share a strong link between soft drinks intake and sleep disorders. But girls in these countries somehow showed a significant association between regularly eating junk food and sleep disorders.
Teenagers from the south-Asian countries also showed how drinking excessive soft drinks can affect sleeping habits. Those living in the Western-Pacific countries also reported an association of sot drinks consumption, junk food, and sleep disorders.
These reports are eye-opening. The value of sleep is undebatable and if the diet is affecting it in anyway, it is time to change the dietary habits or else, it can damage the cognition and mental health of the youngsters.
The research team hopes that health agencies pay attention to these unhealthy eating patterns and control them with policies or rules. Also, these problems are more common in girls so females should be a priority group while designing food-related regulations and stress management campaigns.