Nearly half of all young women in a small U.S. study said they were poor sleepers, and those who drank sugary coffee beverages and energy drinks tended to have the worst sleep quality.
For the study, researchers at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena analyzed responses from 462 women who had participated in a long-term study as teenagers, beginning in 2006.
In 2015, the women answered a sleep quality questionnaire to rate their sleep duration, how often they wake up during the night, how long they take to fall asleep and any use of sleep medications. Sleep quality scores were calculated based on seven aspects of sleep.
Overall, 45.2% of the young women had scores indicating poor sleep quality.
Beverage habits were assessed using a survey that asked the women how often they drank soft drinks, sports drinks and sweetened coffee-based drinks like mochas or frappuccinos over the past seven days.
Women who said they consumed energy drinks or high-calorie coffee beverages were more likely to report poor sleep quality.
Two findings stand out, the researchers said.
First, the prevalence of poor sleep quality was very high with almost half of the participants reporting poor sleep quality. Second, consuming sugary coffee drinks, even some compared with none, was associated with poor sleep quality.
The study wasn’t designed to prove that coffee-based drinks caused the women’s sleep problems. And it’s possible that sleep problems may lead to consuming sugary caffeinated drinks by day, which may lead to more sleep problems.
Consuming beverages with caffeine and sugar may be a sign that people are not getting the quality and quantity of sleep they need, but also may be a factor in causing poor sleep.
Factors other than diet could also account for poor sleep in young women.
Other factors to consider are those related to mood, such as stress, anxiety, and depression; and medical conditions like migraine, which has high prevalence among young women.
Source: Sleep Health, online January 11, 2020.
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