If you are suffering from poor sleep or just can’t help staring at the ceiling while lying in bed even though you feel tired, fear not because what you eat can help you sleep. The study which pointed out this correlation was conducted at the Institute of Human Nutrition in New York in affiliation with Columbia University Medical Center.
Although the number of participants involved in this study was relatively small, only 26 subjects aged 25 to 40 years old, the environment in which it was conducted was completely controlled. The participants were surveilled for 5 days and nights inside the laboratory in order to see if their sleep patterns change in relation to their food intake, as well as the type of food they ingested.
For the first two days, the subjects were allowed to partake in the consumption of any food or drink they wished, while in the other three, they were subjected to a strict diet. Said diets were designed by a professional nutritionist in order to boost sleep hours, efficiency and quality.
After the analysis was concluded, the research team found out that when opting to eat whatever they wished for, participants took about 29 minutes to fall asleep. On the other hand, when the strict diet was implemented, subjects fell asleep in just under 17 minutes.
In regards to the foods used in the study in order to boost sleep quality, fiber, magnesium-rich vegetables, and other such products were used. For instance, fiber can boost deep sleep, or slow-wave sleep, considerably. This is extremely beneficial for those suffering from insomnia because they seldom enter this phase of non-REM deep sleep when the body starts to rejuvenate while neurons rest after a long day’s work.
Another important product for people suffering from sleep fragmentation or insomnia is chickpeas. Besides being rich in fiber, they also have a large quantity of vitamin B6. This allows the body to release melatonin, a hormone used in the regulation of sleep-wake cycles, making sleep fragmentation occur less and less.
Beneficial items were not the only ones sought after the research team. Products that affect sleep in a negative way were also subjected to intense study. Foods with high sugar and fat concentrations were the most detrimental in regards to sleep quality, with subjects that opted for fatty foods being the most unable to fall asleep.
Although the idea that what you eat can help you sleep has pointed out to fiber-rich products in the past, this new study shows how a diet prescribed by a nutritionist helps a patient even more in the fight against insomnia. Lack of sleep or sleep fragmentation can lead to heart-related disorders, mental health degradation, cognitive dysfunction and heightened stress levels, making the need of a conclusive way of stopping insomnia even more urgent.