You already know that adding more fiber to your diet helps with overall health and weight loss, and now new findings suggest it may actually also help you achieve a better night’s sleep.
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The study, published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and conducted by researchers at Columbia University, showed that greater fiber intake resulted in more time spent in the stage of deep sleep—stage three of non-rapid eye movement sleep, also referred to as slow-wave sleep—among participants (a group that included 26 adults). Likewise, consuming more saturated fat and more sugar resulted in less of the slow-wave sleep state, as well as more sleep interruptions.
“Our main finding was that diet quality influenced sleep quality,” said principal investigator Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, assistant professor in the department of medicine and Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center. “It was most surprising that a single day of greater fat intake and lower fiber could influence sleep parameters.”
Another interesting finding from the study: The participants fell asleep faster when they ate meals prepared by a nutritionist—dishes that were lower in saturated fat and higher in protein—when compared to self-selected meals. They fell asleep an average of 29 minutes after consuming foods and beverages of their choice, compared with only 17 minutes after eating controlled meals.
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