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Volume 15 No. 03
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Eating Late Negatively Affects Sleep Pattern and Apnea Severity in Individuals With Sleep Apnea

Tássia do Vale Cardoso Lopes, PhD1; Matheus Eduardo Borba1; Raissa do Vale Cardoso Lopes, MSc2; Regina Mara Fisberg, PhD2; Samantha Lemos Paim, MSc1; Vinicius Vasconcelos Teodoro, PhD1; Ioná Zalcman Zimberg, PhD3; Cibele Aparecida Crispim, PhD1
1School of Medicine, Federal University of Uberlandia, Uberlandia, Brazil; 2School of Public Health, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil; 3School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Study Objectives:

This study aimed to analyze the association between habitual meal timing and sleep parameters, as well as habitual meal timing and apnea severity in individuals with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


Patients in whom mild to severe OSA was diagnosed were included in the study (n = 296). Sleep parameters were analyzed by polysomnography. Dietary pattern was obtained by a food frequency questionnaire and meal timing of the participants. Individuals with OSA were categorized by meal timing (early, late, and skippers).


Dinner timing was associated with sleep latency (β = 0.130, P = .022), apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) (β = 1.284, P = .033) and poor sleep quality (β = 1.140, P = .015). Breakfast timing was associated with wake after sleep onset (WASO) (β = 3.567, P = .003), stage N1 sleep (β = 0.130, P < .001), and stage R sleep (β = −1.189, P = .001). Lunch timing also was associated with stage N1 sleep (β = 0.095, P = .025), sleep latency (β = 0.293, P = .001), and daytime sleepiness (β = 1.267, P = .009). Compared to early eaters, late eaters presented lower duration of stage R sleep and greater values of sleep latency, WASO, stage N1 sleep, and AHI, in addition to increased risk of poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness (P < .005).


Late meal timing was associated with worse sleep pattern and quality and apnea severity than early meal timing. Despite some of these results having limited clinical significance, they can lead to a better understanding about how meal timing affects OSA and sleep parameters.


Lopes TVC, Borba ME, Lopes RVC, Fisberg RM, Paim SL, Teodoro VV, Zimberg IZ, Crispim CA. Eating late negatively affects sleep pattern and apnea severity in individuals with sleep apnea. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(3):383–392.

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