Sleep and dietary habits in the urban environment: the role of chrono-nutrition

Proc Nutr Soc. 2018 Aug;77(3):189-198. doi: 10.1017/S0029665117003974. Epub 2017 Oct 25.


The urban environment has changed vastly over past decades, which also has had an impact on our sleep and dietary patterns and possibly health outcomes. Some studies have shown that sleep duration and sleep quality has declined over past decades, especially in children. In parallel, our lifestyle and dietary patterns have also changed including more shift work, more meals outside the home or family setting and more irregular eating patterns, including breakfast skipping and late-night eating. This new area of research in nutritional sciences studying the impact of the timing of eating on health outcomes is called chrono-nutrition, and combines elements from nutritional research with chrono-biology. The objectives of this paper were to discuss secular trends in sleep patterns and related dietary patterns, introduce basic concepts and mechanisms of chrono-nutrition and discuss the evidence for the importance of sleep and chrono-nutrition in relation to health outcomes. Overall, chrono-nutrition could mediate the effects between sleep, diet and urbanisation, and more research is needed to elucidate the importance of chrono-nutrition for metabolic health and its impact on public health.

Keywords: Chrono-nutrition; Public health; Sleep; Urban environment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Diet
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Meals*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / physiology
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity
  • Sleep*
  • Urban Population
  • Urbanization*