How Diet Affects Sleep

how diet affects sleep

how diet affects sleepThe American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recently published a study that points out how your food choices may affect your sleep. This study highlights the link between diet and sleep, as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. For anyone seeking optimal health, it is important that your lifestyle choices, such as eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, are choices that facilitate quality sleep.

Results of the study conclude that consuming a diet low in fiber, and high in saturated fat and sugar, are directly linked to a lighter sleep pattern with disruptions, which means less restorative sleep. Saturated fats tend to produce energy, which causes less slow wave sleep. Our bodies need deep sleep to restore and rejuvenate. It was also found that sugar tends to cause frequent arousals while asleep.

Another conclusion of this study was that participants were able to fall asleep quicker after consuming meals that a nutritionist provided. These meals contained lower amounts of saturated fat and more protein, as opposed to meals self-selected by participants. On average, participants took 29 minutes to fall asleep after consuming meals and beverages of their choice, but participants who consumed nutritionist selected meals took only 17 minutes to fall asleep.

Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of medicine and Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia State University Medical Center New York, NY, was the lead researcher in this study. Dr. St-Onge stated, “Our main finding was that diet quality influenced sleep quality” (2016). The results of this study can be found in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

What we choose to eat not only affects our sleep but also has astounding effects on our health. For instance, a lack of quality sleep contributes to the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic disorders. If you do not sleep well at night, find that you frequently wake when you should be sleeping, or constantly feel fatigued throughout the day, you may have poor sleep habits that are affected by your diet. Consider a consultation with a nutritionist and your physician to determine what is causing your irregular sleep pattern.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2016, January 14). What you eat can influence how you sleep: Daily intake of fiber, saturated fat and sugar may impact sleep quality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2016 from

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