Wrong Foods Hurt Quality of Sleep
What we eat affects many aspects of our lives, most notably obesity and heart health. Add one more area of concern–the quality of our sleep.
A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that eating foods low in fiber but high in saturated fat may lead to reduced duration of slow-wave sleep – the stage of sleep that restores physical and mental energy.
In addition, the researchers from the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in New York found that eating foods high in sugar was linked to more sleep disruptions.
The study enlisted 26 normal-weight adults (13 men and 13 women) average age 35. Participants were required to spend five nights in a sleep lab; they spent nine hours in bed each night, from 10 pm-7 am, sleeping for an average of seven hours and 35 minutes.
For the first four days, participants were put on a controlled diet, in which they consumed fixed meals prepared by a nutritionist that were low in saturated fat and high in protein. For the last day, participants chose their own foods – which were typically higher in saturated fat and sugar and lower in fiber than the fixed meals.
They underwent polysomnography from the third night – a test used to diagnose sleep disorders, which records brain waves, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing and eye and leg movements.
After just a single day on a self-selected diet, the participants took longer to fall asleep than when they were on the controlled diet; it took them 29 minutes to fall asleep when they chose their own foods, compared with 17 minutes when they consumed fixed meals.
Participants had less slow-wave sleep when self-selecting their foods, which researchers linked to higher intake of saturated fat. High fiber intake with the controlled diet, however, was associated with more slow-wave sleep.
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