Relationship Between Added Sugar Intake and Sleep Quality Among University Students: A Cross-sectional Study

Am J Lifestyle Med. 2019 Aug 23;16(1):122-129. doi: 10.1177/1559827619870476. eCollection 2022 Jan-Feb.


Eating foods high in added sugar has recently increased among people of all ages. This is expected to negatively affect health and life quality. This study was conducted to investigate the relationship between added sugar intake and sleep quality among university students. A total of 100 randomly selected female students (19-25 years old) from Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, participated in the study after applying exclusion criteria. Sample size was calculated with expected correlation of -0.4 between sugar intake and sleep quality, a power of 90%, and a type 1 error of 5%. Participants completed the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), sleep quality questionnaire, and 24-hour dietary recall. Data were analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics 25, and the χ2 test was used for measuring the association between added sugar intake and sleep quality, where P <.05 was considered statistically significant. Results showed that only 17% of participants had good sleep. Data of the 24-hour dietary recall showed a significant association (P = .014) between consumption of added sugars and sleep quality. This is the first study to directly report on the effect of higher intake of added sugars on sleep quality. The study concluded that poor sleep quality was significantly related to higher added sugar intake.

Keywords: 24-hour dietary recall; added sugars; food frequency questionnaire; sleep quality; university students.