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Eating habits are associated with subjective sleep quality outcomes among university students: findings of a cross-sectional study

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigated the relationships between eating habits and sleep quality among university students.

Methods

In a cross-sectional study, university students completed a self-report questionnaire to assess eating habits and meal timing. We assessed subjective sleep quality using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaire and examined the associations between eating habits and overall sleep quality and its components.

Results

Four hundred ninety-eight students participated in the study. Students who used to skip breakfast, ate late-night snacks, and replaced meals with snacks were at 1.20 times, 1.24 times, and 1.25 times higher likelihood of having poor overall sleep quality, respectively. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that skipping breakfast (r =  − 0.111, P = 0.007), late-night snacks (r =  − 0.109, P = 0.007), replacing meals with snacks (r =  − 0.126, P = 0.002), and irregular mealtimes (r =  − 0.094, P = 0.018) were the best correlates with poor sleep quality. After adjustment to demographic variables, replacing meals with snacks followed by skipping breakfast were the best independent associations with poor sleep quality by the PSQI.

Conclusions

Eating habits and meal timing were significantly associated with sleep quality. We speculate that healthy eating habits may lead to improved sleep quality and sleep components among university students.

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Abbreviations

BMI:

Body mass index

GCC:

Gulf Cooperation Council

PSQI:

Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index

REC:

Research Ethics Committee

SD:

Standard deviation

UAE:

United Arab Emirates

UOS:

University of Sharjah

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Correspondence to MoezAlIslam E. Faris.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Faris, M.E., Vitiello, M.V., Abdelrahim, D.N. et al. Eating habits are associated with subjective sleep quality outcomes among university students: findings of a cross-sectional study. Sleep Breath (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-021-02506-w

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-021-02506-w

Keywords

  • Dietary patterns
  • Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Irregular mealtime
  • Snacks
  • Late mealtime