Healthy Diet Can Improve Sleep Quality

February 13, 2016 in LifeCare Health Services

A recent study finds that adjusting diet to include more fiber and less saturated fat and sugar can help improve sleep quality. A diet low in fiber and high in saturated fat and sugar is associated with lighter, less restorative sleep with more arousals during the night.


The study analyzed sleep data from 26 normal-weight adults age 30-45. The participants were monitored for five nights in a sleep lab. They spent nine hours in bed each night. During the first four days of the study, the participants were fed a controlled diet. However, on day five, they were allowed to select and eat whatever they wanted.


The results show that quality of sleep suffered after the day of free eating. This included less of the deep slow-wave sleep and longer time to fall asleep. In addition, those who had greater fiber intake spent less time in stage 1 (very light) sleep and experienced more slow-wave (deep) sleep. The participants who consumed the most saturated fat and sugar were associated with more arousals throughout the night.


The researchers recommend increasing fruit, vegetable, and whole grain intake and eating less processed foods. The current study used participants who were all healthy sleepers, but the study authors would like to include people who have difficulty sleeping in their next study to see if their sleep problems improve with better diets.


Just another way eating the right things can keep us healthy and happy!


Source: St-Onge MP, Roberts A, Shechter A, Choudhury AR. Fiber and saturated fat are associated with sleep arousals and slow wave sleep. J Clin Sleep Med, 2016; 12(1): 19–24.

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