A recent study confirms what a cohort of previous studies had already said: sleep quality is tied to foods we regularly consume. A group of researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York found that certain foods such as whole grains and fiber-rich foods promote a sound sleep.
According to the study, fibers can help the body have a deeper night-sleep, while diets rich in added sugar and saturated fats can greatly disturb one’s sleep, making people feel in the morning that they haven’t had enough sleep even though they slept the recommended 7 hours.
Columbia University researchers found that a high amount of fibers helps the human body spend more time into the dreamless, most restorative phase of sleep, also known as the slow wave sleep.
Marie-Pierre St-Onge, lead author of the study, noted that sleep quality depends of the quality of food we ingest. Food is so important that it can affect the way we sleep from day to day.
St-Onge noted that it is enough to eat badly one day to disturb slow wave sleep.
Past studies had also revealed that fiber-rich foods can help us get a good sleep at night. But the secret does not lie with fiber alone. For instance, cherry tarts promote a sound sleep because of cherries, which are rich in melatonin, a chemical that regulates the body’s circadian rhythm and thus promotes a good night sleep.
Additionally, some whole grains contain a lot of magnesium, which promotes a good sleep as well. Magnesium-deprived people often report sleep disorders. Plus, chickpeas, which are a rich source of fiber and vitamin B6, help us catch a good sleep due to the vitamin rather than to the fiber-content, researchers explained.
But the recent study, which was published last week in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, focused mainly on fibers regardless of context. Study authors also analyzed the effects of added sugar and saturated fats on sleep quality.
Researchers said that study participants who were on controlled diets that promoted a sound sleep feel asleep faster than participants who ate whatever they liked. For instance, controlled meals helped volunteers fall asleep within 17 minutes. By contrast, other participants fell asleep within 29 minutes on average.
Though, the findings need to be confirmed by more research, they do confirm what other studies had found: poor sleep could be an outcome of poor dietary choices.
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