Short and sweet: Associations between self-reported sleep duration and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adults in the United States

Sleep Health. 2016 Dec;2(4):272-276. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2016.09.007.


Objectives: Sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) are a major factor in the development of obesity and cardiometabolic disease. Shortened sleep duration has also been linked to increased appetite and obesity. Here, we examined whether there was an association between self-reported sleep duration and SSB consumption among adults aged 18 years and older.

Methods: Using data from 2005-12 NHANES we examined self- reported sleep duration and beverage intake (types of SSBs, juice, water, coffee, tea) from two 24-hour dietary recalls among 18,779 adults. Adults who slept 7-8 hours/night were considered the reference group. Generalized linear models were computed adjusting for sociodemographics and health characteristics as well as total energy intake.

Results: Thirteen percent slept 5 or fewer hours per night. In fully adjusted models, those who slept 5 hours or less had 21% higher SSB consumption, (RD = 1.21, 95% CI 1.11-1.32). When broken down by beverage type this was due to caffeinated sugary beverages. Longer sleepers (≥9 hour sleepers) consumed fewer servings of coffee and water. There were no associations between self-reported sleep duration and consumption of 100% juice, tea, or diet drinks.

Conclusions: Short sleep is associated with greater intake of sugared caffeinated sodas, a relationship which may have important, though unrecognized, implications for physical health. Directionality of this relationship cannot be determined from this study. While caffeinated drinks could account for impaired sleep, it is possible that short sleep could influence one's appetitive drive for sugared caffeine drinks. Further examination of this relationship using prospective designs is warranted.

Keywords: NHANES; diet; sleep; sugar-sweetened beverage.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Dietary Sugars / analysis*
  • Drinking*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Self Report*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Sugars