If you’re having trouble sleeping, you may be overlooking an important factor in poor sleep: diet.
A growing body of research is showing that having a high in sugar, saturated fat, and processed carbohydrates diet can disrupt your sleep. Meanwhile, eating more plants, fiber, and unsaturated fat foods (nuts, olive oil, fish, avocadoes, etc.) seem to have the opposite effect by promoting sound sleep.
Read more about this research below:
“The researchers discovered that eating more saturated fat and less fiber from foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains led to reductions in slow-wave sleep, which is the deep, restorative kind. In general, clinical trials have also found that carbohydrates have a significant impact on sleep: People tend to fall asleep much faster at night when they consume a high-carbohydrate diet compared to when they consume a high-fat or high-protein diet. That may have something to do with carbs helping tryptophan cross into the brain more easily.
But the quality of carbs matters. In fact, they can be a double-edged sword when it comes to slumber. Dr. St-Onge has found in her research that when people eat more sugar and simple carbs — such as white bread, bagels, pastries and pasta — they wake up more frequently throughout the night. In other words, eating carbs may help you fall asleep faster, but it is best to consume “complex” carbs that contain fiber, which may help you obtain more deep, restorative sleep. . .
The takeaway is that diet and sleep are entwined. Improving one can help you improve the other and vice versa, creating a positive cycle where they perpetuate one another, said Dr. Susan Redline, a senior physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School who studies diet and sleep disorders.
‘The best way to approach health is to emphasize a healthy diet and healthy sleep,’ she added. ‘These are two very important health behaviors that can reinforce each other.'”
IMI has many different services to help strengthen your overall health and prevent disease. Visit our services page to find something that works with you.