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Your Diet May Be Disrupting Your Sleep

If you are having trouble getting a good night sleep, the culprit could be your diet. A recent study has found a link between what you eat during the day and how well you sleep.

Participants in the study included 26 people who had a normal weight and an average age of 35. All of the participants spent five nights in a sleep lab, each night spending nine hours in bed. They slept for an average of seven hours and 35 minutes per night. The researchers collected objective sleep data every night using polysomnography.

The participants were given controlled meals created by a nutritionist for three days. These meals contained lower saturated fat and higher protein than meals participants selected themselves. On the fifth day, participants chose their own food. Sleep data was analyzed after night three and night five.

The researchers found that more fiber intake was associated with more time spent in deep, slow wave sleep. On the other hand, more saturated fact was associated with less slow wave sleep. More sugar was also associated with more arousals from sleep. Finally, the controlled diet was associated with quicker time falling asleep: 17 minutes after eating, compared with 29 minutes after eating with the self-selected meals.

Researchers from Columbia University conducted the study. It was published in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Lack of sleep has been linked in previous studies with increased weight gain, faster cognitive decline, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

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