Diets rich in fiber lead to better sleep
Want to get a better night’s sleep without taking medication? A new study just released says eating foods high in fiber content will lead to a deeper and a more restorative night for most people, and warns there are other foods that can do the opposite.
The study from Columbia University and cited on cnet.com, found an association with a high fiber intake diet and more time spent in dreamless sleep, a stage of sleep also known as slow-wave sleep.
Marie-Pierre St-Onge, of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia’s Medical Center in Nw York, said the main finding of the study was that diet influenced sleep quality, but surprisingly, only one day of greater fat intake and lower fiber could actually influence slow-wave sleep.
Previous studies have shown that sleep can be influenced by fiber-rich foods, but the association with fiber alone had not been made until now. During the course of this new study, the researchers looked of the impact of fiber in the diet, and the influence of sugary foods and foods high in saturated fat and their effects on sleeping.
The findings revealed the group of people who had their meals prepared by a nutritionist, taking the link between sleep and foods into consideration, on average fell asleep after only 17 minutes. The group that was able to eat the foods of their own choosing took an average of 29 minutes to go to sleep.
The study was small, using 26 participants, aged 20-45 and were considered as “normal weight,” and was conducted over a period of five nights in a controlled sleep lab. The research tracked the diets and food intake of the participants as well as their sleep performance.
The team admits more research is necessary, but adds the importance of sleep is well documented. Various studies have already identified the negative aspects of sleep loss, which can even lead to cardiovascular disease and hypertension, as well as poor performance on the job.
The researchers recommend avoiding sugar and saturated fats, and build your diet around whole grains, fruits and vegetables to improve the quality of your sleep.