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Want to Improve Your Sleep? Try Eating More Fiber

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Have you tried everything short of taking sleep aids to get a good night’s sleep? Here’s one more tip that might help you achieve quality shuteye: Eat more fiber— found in foods like legumes, bran flakes and raspberries—and cut back on the fat and sugar. That’s what a new study by scientists at the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in New York implies after finding an association between diet and sleep quality.

In a study of 26 healthy men and women, researchers found that participants fell asleep faster and slept more soundly when they ate healthy fare high in fiber during the day compared with when their daily meals were instead high in saturated fat and sugar and low in fiber. The healthy diet consisted of about 31 percent of calories from fat, of which about 7.5 percent was from saturated fat; 53 percent from carbohydrates; and 17 percent from protein. On the days the participants took longer to fall asleep and woke during the night, they had consumed calories comprising about 14 percent protein; 54.6 percent carbohydrates; and 32.7 percent from fat, of which 10 percent was from saturated fat. Meals high in sugar and nonfiber carbohydrates were most often associated with more nighttime arousals.

Although the researchers couldn’t establish a definitive cause-and-effect relationship between lighter, less restorative sleep and low fiber and high saturated fat and sugar intake, they say that more study in this area could reveal that diet is useful in managing sleep disorders.

The study appeared in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.



Posted in Nutrition and Weight Control on March 1, 2016

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