Sleep timing is associated with diet and physical activity levels in 9–11-year-old children from Dunedin, New Zealand: the PEDALS study
It is well documented that short sleep duration is associated with excess body weight and poor food intake in children. It has been suggested that sleep timing behaviour may also be an important predictor of weight and other related behaviours, independent of sleep duration; however, there is a lack of research investigating these relationships. The present study investigated sleep timing in association with diet and physical activity levels in 439 children aged 9–11 years old from New Zealand. Sleep and physical activity data were collected using accelerometry, and food choice using a short food-frequency questionnaire. Participants were classified into one of four sleep timing behaviour categories using the median split for sleep-onset and -offset times. Differences between sleep timing groups for weekly consumption frequency of selected food groups, dietary pattern scores and minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were examined. Children in the late sleep/late wake category had a lower ‘Fruit & Vegetables’ pattern score [mean difference (95% CI): −0.3 (−0.5, −0.1)], a lower consumption frequency of fruit and vegetables [mean weekly difference (95% CI): −2.9 (−4.9, −0.9)] and a higher consumption frequency of sweetened beverages [mean weekly difference (95% CI): 1.8 (0.2, 3.3)] compared with those in the early sleep/early wake category. Additionally, children in the late sleep/late wake category accumulated fewer minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day compared with those in the early sleep/early wake category [mean difference (95% CI): −9.4 (−15.3, −3.5)]. These findings indicate that sleep timing, even after controlling for sleep duration, was associated with both food consumption and physical activity.