Objective: To identify major meal and snack eating patterns, and examine their relationships with sleep duration.
Design: The analyses included 27 983 participants in a prospective cohort study of women aged 35 to 74 years in the USA or Puerto Rico.
Results: The principal component analysis of eight meal and snack frequency items at different times across the day yielded two major eating patterns: (i) eating during conventional eating hours (defined as times from breakfast to dinner); and (ii) dominance of snacks over meals. Comparing the identified eating patterns among women with varying sleep duration (<5, 5-5·9, 6-6·9, 7-7·9, 8-8·9, 9-9·9 and ≥10 h daily), the tendency for eating during conventional eating hours decreased with decreasing sleep duration: adjusted mean score of -0·54 (95% CI -0·68, -0·41) in women sleeping for <5 h daily v. 0·08 (95% CI 0·06, 0·11) among those with 7-7·9 h of sleep daily. The extent of snack dominance over meals increased in women with shorter sleep. Women with long (≥10 h) sleep duration had eating patterns similar to those with short (<6 h) sleep duration. Lower tendency for eating during conventional eating hours and greater snack dominance over meals were also related to higher intakes of fat and sweets for energy and lower intakes of fruits and vegetables.
Conclusions: Disrupted eating patterns and diet of poor nutritional quality may exacerbate the development of obesity and metabolic diseases in habitual short and very long sleepers.