New Study: How to Improve Sleep Quality Naturally

New Study: How to Improve Sleep Quality Naturally

You might have known that vegetables boast a host of benefits for your health. But could topping up your meals with veggies and other fibre-rich foods be the secret to getting a good night’s sleep?

A new study by researchers from the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in New York studied how dietary choices could affect our sleep patterns.

During the study, the research team recruited 26 adults between the ages of 30 and 45 who were of normal weight range and do not have any sleep issues. The subjects were monitored for five nights in a sleep lab, where they slept for nine hours every evening from 10pm to 7am. While they slept, their brain waves were recorded to detect changes in their sleep cycles.

Additionally, the subjects were put on a controlled diet during the first four days – while on day five, they were allowed to make their own food choices.

The Results

The study revealed that the subjects fell asleep faster (an average of 17 minutes) when they ate the nutritionist-designed, controlled meals, which were low in saturated fat and high in protein compared to the meal they chose for themselves.

After consuming the meal which they chose for themselves on the fifth day, it took an average of 20 minutes for the subjects to fall asleep.

St-Onge who is an assistant professor in the department of medicine and the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in New York commented that “it was most surprising [how] a single day of greater fat intake and lower fibre could influence sleep parameters”.

Although the study brought to light the relationship between sleep and better food choices, Dr. Shalini Paruthi, a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and an associate professor of internal medicine and paediatrics at the St. Louis University School of Medicine, said that it’s important to note that the study is “small and limited”.

“We have to keep in mind this was definitely a pilot study,” Paruthi said, as she emphasised the fact that the take-home message is not about meal solutions that will help us sleep better. She noted that only 30% of the participants who ate whatever they wanted on the last night took longer to fall asleep.

 

Find out on the next page, which healthy food choices can help you sleep better at night. 

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