How to eat for better sleep

Better sleep
Public Domain Sleeping Beauty by Henry Meynell Rheam

A new study finds three food choices that can lead to improved slumber.

If you are one of the many millions of people who suffer from the crazy-making scourge that is insomnia, you have likely read plenty of tips on how to achieve that elusive state of bliss known as sleep. You know about the importance of regular sleep routines and turning off the electronics, about skipping the boozy nightcap and limiting caffeine. But now a new study has a few more pearls of wisdom to add to the bag – and all natural approaches to better sleep are a step up from using pharmaceutical sleep aids which come with their own set of risks.

Not surprisingly, since food is the driving force of our bodies, they found several areas in which sleep improved based on food choices. Their research shows that a greater fiber intake during the day resulted in more time spent in the stage of deep, slow wave sleep. Meanwhile, more saturated fat predicted less slow wave sleep, and higher consumption was associated with more arousals from sleep.

"Our main finding was that diet quality influenced sleep quality," said principal investigator Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, assistant professor in the department of medicine and Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, N.Y. "It was most surprising that a single day of greater fat intake and lower fiber could influence sleep parameters."

"The finding that diet can influence sleep has tremendous health implications, given the increasing recognition of the role of sleep in the development of chronic disorders such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease," said St-Onge.

So there you have it. More fiber, less fat and less sugar could be helpful for those seeking to improve sleep. Not really earth shattering, the treatment for so many ailments often boils down to eating better – but it's a great reminder that our bodies are sensitive machines that run best when well-fueled ... and possibly sleep better too.

Tags: Health | Natural Remedies | Sleep

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