A negative association between sleep duration and BMI has been observed in children. However, knowledge about the association between sleep duration and diet is limited. The objective was to examine the association between sleep duration and intake of foods and nutrients in children. In the present crosssectional study, dietary intake and sleep duration were recorded by the parents for seven consecutive days in a food and sleep record in a representative sample of 802 4- to 14-year-old children. No sex differences were found regarding age and sleep duration. Sleep duration was negatively correlated to age (ρ = –0·68; P < 0·001) and BMI (ρ = –0·41; P < 0·001). In multiple linear regression analyses, sleep duration was not associated with energy intake (b = –0·015; P = 0·20), but there was a trend towards a positive association with intake of dietary fibre (b = 0·006; P = 0·05) and vegetables (b = 0·011; P = 0·05), and a negative association with intake of poultry (b = –0·002; P = 0·02), and a trend towards a negative association with intake of liquid ‘discretionary calories’ (b = –0·01; P = 0·05). Furthermore, in a comparison of dietary intake between age-dependent tertiles of sleep duration, only intake of liquid ‘discretionary calories’ was significantly lower in long sleepers than in short and medium sleepers (P= 0·03). In conclusion, sleep duration was not associated with energy intake and the proposal that children with short sleep duration have less healthy eating habits than children with longer sleep duration was only weakly supported by the present findings.
Bibliographical note© The Author(s) 2013. The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/>.