High Fiber for Better Sleep?

Man Having Difficulty Sleeping

A recent study suggests that diet and sleep are interwoven and optimal health comes from making good lifestyle choices that promote slow-wave or deep sleep. According to a study reported by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, eating more saturated fat and sugar combined with a lower intake of fiber, results in less slow-wave sleep and less time spent in the stage of deep sleep. In addition, study participants who had a greater sugar intake experienced more arousals from sleep.

In comparing how diet quality influences a person's quality of sleep, researchers were surprised by how quickly a dietary change affected sleep. Participants' sleep parameters were altered the same night that meals with greater fat and sugar intake, and lower fiber were consumed. Since medical research has already linked sleep disruption to the development of chronic disorders such as hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the findings that not only what you eat but when you eat it can affect sleep, has tremendous health implications.

The study supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), found that participants who ate meals prepared by a nutritionist fell asleep faster than those who self-selected their meals. In fact, individuals who consumed the food and beverage of their choosing took an average of 29 minutes to fall asleep, whereas those who ate healthier controlled meals fell asleep in only 17 minutes. A high-fiber meal for dinner also allowed participants to spend more time engaged in slow-wave sleep, which is essential for good immune system function.

A study published a couple of years prior on obesity had suggested that sleep cycles are influenced by the time of day that food is consumed. Hitting the refrigerator for a late night snack sends signals to the body that it is time to be awake and active. For anyone interested in improving his or her health and/or managing their weight, eating right at suppertime is important for a good night's sleep, and staying out of the kitchen afterwards is imperative. To learn more about creating a menu plan that can help you lose weight and improve your sleep quality, contact the Metabolic Research Center for a free consultation.


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