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Study: Sleep quality influences performance more than sleep quantity

Dr. Sonia Lippke, Professor of Health Psychology at Jacobs University Bremen. Photo: Jonas Ginter / WFB

May 22, 2018

A healthy, low-fat diet and undisturbed sleep play an important role in staying fit and full of energy during the day. Sleep quantity, on the other hand, is of less importance. This is the finding of a recently published study in the journal "Health Behavior & Policy Review," which was conducted at Jacobs University Bremen.

Dr. Sonia Lippke, Professor of Health Psychology, and two colleagues from her research group investigated the interrelationships between quality of life and well-being on the one hand and sleep and nutrition on the other. Specifically, the focus was on the fat content of food and the duration and quality of sleep.

Not enough sleep is generally considered a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems and diabetes, especially in older adults. This is why science has recently devoted itself increasingly to the sleep factor. However, little is known about the relationship between sleep and various lifestyle factors such as diet. "It was and is therefore important to us to explore mutual influences in this area," says Sonia Lippke. "This enables us to make recommendations and take measures that in turn can improve lifestyles.”

For their study, she and her team interviewed 126 adults who were over 50 years of age. The positive effect of a low-fat diet and undisturbed sleep judged as “good” on performance during the day was particularly noticeable. In contrast, sleep quantity was of secondary importance for study participants who benefited from this combination. Seven to eight hours of sleep are considered sufficient, but it is particularly important that they are restful.

Tan, S. L., Whittal, A., & Lippke, S. (2018). Associations among Sleep, Diet, Quality of Life, and Subjective Health. Health Behavior & Policy Review, 5(2), 46-58.