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April 13th, 2016

Eat your way to a better night’s sleep

Did you know:

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You may be able to eat your way to a better night’s sleep.

Diet and sleep are connected; we often hear (and experience) how a poor night’s sleep subsequently alters our food intake. New research, however, is taking a look at this relationship from the other side – how diet impacts sleep – and the findings support what we always say: eat more fiber.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Fiber and Saturated Fat Are Associated with Sleep Arousals and Slow Wave Sleep, tracked food intake and sleep patterns of 26 adults over the course of five nights and found that eating more fiber may positively influence our sleep patterns. Researchers observed that participants who ate more fiber experienced deeper and more restorative stages of sleep. On the flip side, those who ate more saturated fat and sugar throughout the day experienced the opposite effect. In fact, surprisingly, just one day of greater fat intake and lower fiber may influence how well you sleep at night.

So how much fiber should you be eating? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that women take in at least 25 grams of fiber daily and men, about 38 grams. To add in an extra fiber boost, try adding lentils and non-starchy vegetables like hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, and Brussels sprouts to your next green salad.

For more information, see Which may affect your sleep: fiber, protein, sugar or saturated fat? via Nutrition Action and view study in its entirety via the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.