Eating less fiber, more saturated fat and more sugar is linked to lighter, less restorative and more disrupted sleep, according to a new study from New York’s Columbia University Medical Center.
Results show that greater fiber intake led to more time spent in deep sleep. In contrast, a higher percentage of energy from saturated fat led to poorer sleep quality. Greater sugar intake also was associated with more awakenings.
“Our main finding was that diet quality influenced sleep quality,” says lead investigator Marie-Pierre St-Onge, assistant professor in Columbia’s Department of Medicine and Institute of Human Nutrition. “It was most surprising that a single day of greater fat intake and lower fiber could influence sleep parameters.”
The study also found that participants fell asleep faster after eating fixed meals provided by a nutritionist, which were lower in saturated fat and higher in protein than self-selected meals. It took participants an average of 29 minutes to fall asleep after consuming foods and beverages of their choice, but only 17 minutes to fall asleep after eating controlled meals.
Results were published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.