Probable insomnia is associated with future total energy intake and diet quality in men

Feon W. Cheng, Yanping Li, John W. Winkelman, Frank B. Hu, Eric B. Rimm, Xiang Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Insomnia is associated with several adverse health outcomes. Small clinical studies have suggested that an inferior nutrition status is a potential explanation, but to our knowledge, this possibility has not been examined in a large-scale, populationbased cohort study. Objective: We examined whether individuals with probable insomnia and individual insomnia symptoms had greater energy intake and a lower diet quality as assessed with the use of the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) 2 y later. Design: A cohort study of 15,273 US men aged 58-93 y who were free of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes and were participating in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study reported information on insomnia symptoms in 2004. Dietary intake was assessed with the use of a food-frequency questionnaire in 2002 and 2006. We calculated the adjusted mean differences of total energy intake in 2006 and the AHEI-component scores and their 95% CIs between subjects with and without probable insomnia in 2004 and also across categories for each insomnia symptom while adjusting for related covariates. Results: After dietary intake in 2002, major chronic conditions, and other potential confounders were controlled for, men with probable insomnia had a mean higher consumption of 35.8 kcal/d (95% CI: 17.4, 54.1 kcal/d) and had lower scores in 3 individual AHEI components (trans fat, vegetables, and sodium), which denoted higher consumption of trans fat and sodium and lower intake of vegetables (P ≤ 0.01 for all). For individual insomnia symptoms, nonrestorative sleep and a difficulty maintaining sleep were associated with higher energy intake (P-trend ≤ 0.007 for both). A similar trend was observed in men who had difficulty initiating sleep (P-trend = 0.07). We also observed a significant association between the difficulty of initiating sleep and a lower AHEI score 2 y later (P-trend = 0.004). Conclusion: Probable insomnia is associated with higher intakes of total energy, trans fat, and sodium and lower intake of vegetables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-469
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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