Want to Sleep Better? Add Protein to Your Menu Plan.


Woman Sleeping Soundly

Most sleep research focuses on the impact that sleep has on diet, hunger pangs and weight control. We already know that short sleep duration and a frequently compromised quality of sleep can have a negative impact on one's health. Problems with metabolic diseases and cardiovascular diseases have been directly linked to problems sleeping. In fact, a high prevalence of sleep disturbance in some individuals may have lead to a premature death.

At Purdue University, researchers reversed the question and asked, "What effects do weight loss programs and diets have on sleep?" More specifically, how does the consumption of higher amounts of protein impact overweight and obese adults who are following a regimented menu plan; and how can changes to an adult's lifestyle and diet help to improve their overall sleep quality.

Dietitians at Purdue designed a daily menu plan that met each participant's need for maintaining daily energy levels. Side-by-side studies (higher-protein group versus normal-protein group) had calories from carbohydrates and fats trimmed from their menu plans each day while consuming the assigned amounts of protein that matched their study group. Beef, pork, soy, legumes and milk were used as sources of protein for both groups but in differing amounts.

Researchers launched a pilot study with a limited number of participants and after four weeks those consuming more dietary protein (1.5 grams versus 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight) reported an improvement in sleep. The primary study continued with the same eating patterns but was composed of 44 individuals who were obese or overweight. After 16 weeks, those who consumed more protein both lost weight and reported an improvement in sleep quality.

Although sleep has long been recognized as an important component to an individual's overall health, results of the study, not only concluded that sleep is enhanced by a high-protein diet, but that higher protein intake may benefit loss of body fat, retention of lean mass and improvements in blood pressure. To learn more about losing weight and improving your health and wellness, contact the Metabolic Research Center for a free consultation.

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