(CNN)If you find yourself eating too much added sugar and unhealthy fats, it might be because you're not getting enough sleep, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Struggling to quit sugar? You might not be sleeping enough
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Researchers from Columbia University's Irving Medical Center examined the associations between measures of sleep quality and the dietary patterns of nearly 500 women who participated in the AHA Go Red for Women program, a year-long study of sleep patterns and cardiovascular risk in women.
What they found was that the poorer their quality of sleep, and the less they slept, the more the women consumed added sugars, saturated fats and caffeine.
According to the researchers, the findings are important because women are at high risk for obesity and sleep disorders, which can both be driven by a high intake of food. Foods high in added sugars and unhealthy fats are also linked to health conditions and diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
"In our modern society, we oftentimes work late, we eat our meals late and sometimes sleep is kind of put by the wayside in terms of how important it is to our overall healthy lifestyle," said Dr. Brooke Aggarwal, senior author of the study and assistant professor of medical sciences at Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
"Our study really highlights the importance of good, quality sleep for the management of body weight as well as potentially preventing heart disease among women."
Nearly 500 women between the ages of 20 and 76 were examined for their sleep patterns and the quality and quantity of their food intake.