Skip to main content

Free Content Sleep disturbances, body mass index and eating behaviour in undergraduate students

Download Article:

You have access to the full text article on a website external to Ingenta Connect.

Please click here to view this article on Wiley Online Library.

You may be required to register and activate access on Wiley Online Library before you can obtain the full text. If you have any queries please visit Wiley Online Library



This study investigates the association between sleep disturbances, body mass index (BMI) and eating behaviour in a sample of undergraduate students. The sample comprises 870 medicine and dentistry students from Coimbra University (62.5% females), aged between 17 and 25 years. The Eating Attitudes Test‐40 was used to measure eating behaviour, and two questions were applied addressing difficulties of initiating sleep (DIS) and difficulties of maintaining sleep (DMS). A sleep disturbance index (SDI) was calculated from the sum of DIS and DMS scores. Body mass index (BMI) was determined from self‐reported weight and height. The correlation analyses generally indicated that global eating disturbance, bulimic behaviour dimension and social pressure to eat were associated particularly with sleep difficulties. An association between diet concerns and sleep difficulties was less consistent. Regression analyses showed that bulimic behaviour (BB) and social pressure to eat (SPE) dimensions were associated significantly with sleep difficulties (DIS, DMS, SDI) in the total sample (BB: from P <0.01 to P <0.001; SPE: P <0.05) and in males (BB: from P <0.05 to P <0.001; SPE: P <0.05) and with insomnia symptoms (P <0.01). In females, bulimic behaviour was the only factor associated significantly with sleep difficulties (SDI, DIS; P <0.01) and with insomnia symptoms (P <0.05). Although BMI was correlated negatively with sleep difficulties (P <0.05), regression analyses indicated that it was not associated significantly with them. Our findings support an association between eating behaviour and sleep disturbances in both genders, which may have treatment implications.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Instituto de Psicologia Médica, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal 2: Departamento de Ciências da Educação, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal 3: Clínica Universitária de Psiquiatria, Hospitais da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

Publication date: September 1, 2011


Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more