Who knew sleep could be so important to bone health?

Besides having effects on our productivity, immune system and anxiety levels, a new study in rats shows that sleep deprivation could also impact the health of bone and bone marrow.

The findings, published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, showed that sleep-deprived rats had decreased bone mineral density -- which researchers said in the study indicated osteoporosis. The rats also had less fat in their bone marrow than fully-rested rats, as well as double the amount of megakaryocytes, which are bone marrow cells that produce platelets.

"Taken together, these findings suggest that chronically inadequate sleep affects bone metabolism and bone marrow composition in ways that have implications for development, aging, bone healing and repair, and blood cell differentiation," the researchers wrote in the study.

"If true in humans, and I expect that it may be, this work will have great impact on our understanding of the impact of sleep deprivation on osteoporosis and inability to repair bone damage as we age," the editor-in-chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine Dr. Steven R. Goodman said in a statement.

Sleep's not the only thing that could affect bone health -- the foods you consume can also make a big difference. Click through the slideshow for some foods that can promote healthy bones:

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  • Soy

    Soy foods are protein-rich, dairy-free ways to up your calcium intake. The average adult needs about <a href="http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/" target="_hplink">1,000 milligrams of this essential nutrient every day</a>. A half-cup serving of tofu fortified with calcium (<a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/calcium-magnesium-vitamin-k-00400000055855/page7.html" target="_hplink">not all brands are prepared this way</a>, CookingLight.com points out) contains about <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4817" target="_hplink">25 percent of that</a>. A cup of soybeans contains <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3229" target="_hplink">261 milligrams of calcium</a>, plus 108 milligrams of magnesium (more on that later).

  • Fatty Fish

    Milk, cheese, yogurt and tofu won't do you much good without your daily dose of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Most adults need about <a href="http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-QuickFacts/" target="_hplink">600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day</a>, according to the National Institutes of Health. Research shows that women who get more than 500 IU a day are <a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/get-stronger-bones " target="_hplink">40 percent less likely to fracture a hip</a>, <em>Women's Health</em> reported. A three-ounce serving of <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4529" target="_hplink">sockeye salmon clocks in at nearly 450 IU</a>, a can of <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4531" target="_hplink">sardines contains 178 IU</a> and three ounces of <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4566" target="_hplink">canned tuna totals about 70 IU</a>.

  • Fortified Cereal

    A number of breakfast options come <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/15/get-vitamin-d_n_1671396.html#slide=1221629" target="_hplink">fortified with a punch of vitamin D</a>. For maximum bone benefit, look for a cereal brand with at <a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/calcium-magnesium-vitamin-k-00400000055855/page11.html" target="_hplink">least 10 percent of your recommended daily intake</a>, CookingLight.com suggests. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/27927484@N00/6414517921/" target="_hplink">S John Davey</a></em>

  • Almonds

    Nuts -- like olive oil -- are rich in healthy fats and part of the typical Mediterranean diet, although the new study found a stronger relationship between healthy bones and a diet enriched with olive oil than a diet enriched with nuts. A one-ounce serving of almonds contains <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/calcium-food-sources_n_1451010.html#s903289&title=Almonds" target="_hplink">80 milligrams of calcium</a>, but it also packs nearly <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3697" target="_hplink">80 milligrams of magnesium</a>, another <a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/calcium-magnesium-vitamin-k-00400000055855/page12.html" target="_hplink">key player for strong bones</a>. The average adult needs around <a href="http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/" target="_hplink">300 to 400 milligrams a day</a>, according to the NIH.

  • Leafy Greens

    Vitamin K "<a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/get-stronger-bones#ixzz23dNgSqxC" target="_hplink">enable[s] certain bone forming proteins</a> to do their job," Sarah Booth, Ph.D., director of the Vitamin K Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston told <em>Women's Health</em>. Eating more of this vitamin, found predominantly in foods like kale, spinach and Swiss chard, is linked to a lower risk of hip fracture, the magazine reported. Most adults should aim to get at least <a href="http://www.iom.edu/Home/Global/News Announcements/~/media/Files/Activity Files/Nutrition/DRIs/DRI_Vitamins.ashx" target="_hplink">90 to 120 micrograms a day</a>, according to the Institute of Medicine. Just one cup of <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3050" target="_hplink">raw kale contains 547</a> and a cup of <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3233" target="_hplink">spinach has 145</a>.

  • Potatoes

    Some research suggests that a <a href="http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/1/164S.full.pdf" target="_hplink">potassium-rich diet</a> may counteract some of the decline in calcium absorption seen in the typical Western diet. The average adult needs about <a href="http://www.iom.edu/Activities/Nutrition/SummaryDRIs/~/media/Files/Activity Files/Nutrition/DRIs/5_Summary Table Tables 1-4.pdf" target="_hplink">4,700 milligrams of potassium</a> a day. One medium sweet spud with skin has <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3555" target="_hplink">542 milligrams</a> and a medium white potato with the skin has <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3152" target="_hplink">751 milligrams</a>. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/veganfeast/3662019664/" target="_hplink">Vegan Feast Catering</a></em>

  • Bananas

    Bananas are a well-known potassium gold mine, but don't often make lists of foods for healthy bones. However, at <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2260" target="_hplink">422 milligrams for a medium fruit</a>, they're not to be ignored. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rinses/3602799397/" target="_hplink">(rinse)</a></em>

  • Fortified Orange Juice

    Your favorite brand probably makes a variety of OJ fortified with both calcium and vitamin D, which can give your bone health a morning boost. But it may deliver even more bang for your buck: Studies have also shown that orange juice in general <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20365458_12,00.html" target="_hplink">might help the body <em>absorb</em> calcium</a>, Health.com reported. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/22201094@N08/4335046859/" target="_hplink">ecooper99</a></em>

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