Sleep Duration and Diet Quality Among Women Within 5 Years of Childbirth in the United States: A Cross-Sectional Study

Matern Child Health J. 2016 Sep;20(9):1869-77. doi: 10.1007/s10995-016-1991-3.


Objective Only 9 % of women with young children consume a high quality diet. The association between sleep duration and health may be U-shaped. We examined diet quality in relation to sleep duration among US women within 5 years of childbirth. Methods Data were from non-pregnant women aged 20-44 years within 5 years of childbirth who completed two 24-h dietary recalls (N = 896) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2012. Self-reported weekday/workday sleep duration was categorized as short (≤6 h), adequate (7-8 h), or long (≥9 h). The Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2010, range 0-100) estimated overall and components of diet quality. Multivariable-adjusted linear regression models estimated the association between sleep duration and diet quality, adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, and education. Results Thirty-four percent of women reported short, 57.1 % adequate, and 8.6 % long sleep duration. The average diet quality total score was 47.4 out of 100. Short sleep duration was not associated with diet quality. Long sleep duration was associated with lower quality diet (β = -4.3; 95 % CI -8.1 to -0.4), lower consumption of total fruit (β = -0.7; 95 % CI -1.3 to -0.1), whole fruit (β = -0.9; 95 % CI -1.6 to -0.2), and total protein (β = -0.7; 95 % CI -1.3 to -0.03), and higher consumption of empty calories (β = 2.2; 95 % CI -4.3 to -0.1). Conclusions for practice Future studies should examine the longitudinal association between sleep duration and diet quality among women following childbirth and whether interventions to improve sleep can enhance diet quality.

Keywords: Childbearing; Diet quality; Sleep duration; Women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Nutritive Value
  • Pregnancy
  • Sleep*
  • United States