Sleeping for longer each night could help reduce intake of sugary foods and lead to a generally healthier diet.

That's according to a King's College London study.

Some figures suggest more than a third of adults in the UK are not getting enough sleep.

But it remains a modifiable risk factor for various conditions, including obesity and cardio-metabolic disease.

This randomised controlled trial looked at the feasibility of increasing sleep hours in adults who typically slept for less than the recommended minimum for adults of seven hours.

Alongside this, the researchers undertook a pilot investigation that looked at the impact of increasing sleep hours on nutrient intake. They found that extending sleep patterns resulted in a 10-gram reduction in reported intake of free sugars compared to baseline levels. The researchers also noticed trends for reduced intake of total carbohydrates reported by the sleep extension group.

The principal investigator, Dr Wendy Hall, from the Department of Nutritional Sciences observed: 'The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of free sugars, by which we mean the sugars that are added to foods by manufacturers or in cooking at home as well as sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice, suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets.'

The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.