When it comes to SLEEP diet is KING!
When it comes to SLEEP diet is KING!
Sleep is such an important aspect of optimal health and functioning normally. This latest study found that when it comes to sleep diet is king! It analysed how diet patterns affect sleep quantity and quality. 26 normal weight adults, sleeping 7-9 hours a night, participated in a randomised controlled study, over 5 nights with controlled feeding and ad libitum food intake.
The research found that eating less fibre, high saturated fats (from animal sources), and more sugar was associated with lighter, less restorative sleep with more waking through the night.
Greater fibre intake showed more time spent in the stage of ”deep slow wave sleep”. In contrast, a higher percentage of saturated fat predicted less slow wave sleep. A higher intake of sugar was also associated with more waking from sleep. “Our main finding was that diet quality influenced ‘sleep quality’, said principal investigator Marie-Pierre St-Onge, (PhD, assistant professor, Dept of Medicine & Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Centre, New York). “It was most surprising that a single day of greater fat intake and lower fibre could influence sleep parameters.”
Dr Nathaniel Watson, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, commented that this study shows that, “diet and sleep are interwoven in the fabric of a healthy lifestyle. Our lifestyle choices and importantly eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly, impact not only optimal health they also influence healthy sleep”.
The study also found that participants fell asleep faster after eating fixed meals, 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.
“The finding that diet can influence sleep has tremendous health implications, given the increasing recognition of the role of sleep in the development of chronic disorders such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said St-Onge.
This study suggests that diet-based recommendations may be used to improve sleep in those with poor sleep quality.
8 Tips to Increase Healthy Sleep
- Ensure you eat vegetables at dinner.
- Stay away from sugary refined foods not only in the evening throughout the day as well.
- Increase fibre in the diet through eating fresh organic whole foods including two pieces of fruit daily and at least 5 cups of vegetables throughout the day.
- Increase seeds that provide fibre such as chia, flaxseeds, quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth.
- Not getting enough fibre? Include ½-1 teaspoon of psyllium husks in your diet daily. This can be incorporated into a healthy smoothie (not too much fruit) in the morning. Warning: when increasing fibre make sure you are drinking plenty of water to promote elimination.
- Foods that naturally aid sleep include: yoghurt, milk, oats, bananas, poultry, eggs, peanuts and turkey as they all contain good amounts of tryptophan.
- Why not try magnesium as a natural relaxer (choose the best sources) along with the other electrolytes such as potassium and calcium to ensure there is no imbalance, lycopene (a study showed this can help), vitamin D and don’t forget chamomile and lavender (traditionally used by place a few drops of oil on your pillow!)
- So we forget the most simple and natural ways to increase our sleep. Take the sunglasses off as you walk in the morning. Or sit in the sun when you have your breakfast. This natural light filters to the pineal gland (of course via your eyes) and promotes the natural production of your circadian rhythms and potentiates the production of melatonin (your sleep hormone).
Sleep Hygiene: Improve sleep through changing your LIFESTYLE
For more information on ways to improve your sleep through natural lifestyle changes in your daily life click here: Sleep Hygiene LifeStyle Changes
Healthy Summer Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is a healthy high protein grain (with 9 amino acids) that contains fibre, magnesium, iron, manganese, riboflavin (B2) (Quinoa benefits)
1/3 cup (50g) uncooked Quinoa (makes approx 1 cup cooked)
2 cups of leafy greens (rocket, mustard greens, mixed lettuce)
1-1 1/2 cups of fresh veggies chopped (cucumber, olives, cherry tomatoes, radishes, mushrooms, grated carrot or zucchine), Option: Use leftover roast vegetables
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (can use avocado oil if you prefer)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon organic Dijon mustard.
1/4 clove of fresh garlic finely chopped or 1/4 tsp minced garlic (optional).
Pinch of Celtic or Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse quinoa before using. Cook quinoa in boiling water as per the packet instructions or like you would rice. Drain water. Add salt, pepper, oil, garlic and mustard and stir thoroughly. Put aside to cool slightly.
- Add quinoa to salad bowl or the jar you may wish to take to work in. Layer with chopped vegetables with most dense at the bottom if using a jar. Place leafy greens at the top. In your bowl lightly toss your dense vegetables and then the lighter ones to minimise breaking when tossing.
- Serve with lightly tossed sesame seeds, pepitas or sunflower seeds.