A recently published study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, suggests that eating products with little fiber and much saturated fat, negatively affects your slow-wave sleep. This is an important stage of sleep where physical and mental energy is restored. The investigators also found that food with a lot of sugar is linked to more sleep disruptions.
The participants of the study were 13 men and 13 women, which spend 5 nights in a sleep lab. They were 9 hours per night in bed (10 pm – 7 am) and their average sleep time was 7 hours and 35 minutes. The first days of the study, participants had a controlled diet, with prepared meals that were low in saturated fat and high in protein. The last day of the study, the participants were free to choose their own foods, which were significantly higher in saturated fat and lower in fiber.
The brain waves, oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing and eye and leg movements of the participants were recorded by polysomnography during sleep. The participants took longer to fall asleep when they were able to choose their own food: 29 minutes compared to 17 minutes when they were mixed on the diet. The other remarkable finding was that participants had less slow-wave sleep when they selected their own food. The researchers linked this to a higher intake of saturated fat.
The findings of this study indicate the importance of a healthy diet; the more because poor sleep quality is associated with all kind of health problems.
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