The food you eat has an impact on more than just your digestive systemturns out, it can also mess with your shuteye. The variety of food you eat may play a key role in determining your sleep cycle, according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Researchers looked at data from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They grouped survey subjects according to how much time they spent sleeping on average each nightvery short (less than 5 hours), short (5 6 hours), standard (7 8 hours), and long (9-plus hours). They then analyzed the diets of each sleeping group. They found that the people who slept an average 7-8 hours a night ate the greatest variety of food and nutrients, and shortest sleepers consumed the lowest variety of food and nutrients.
Or, to put it simply: Eat more (types of food), sleep more.
In general, a healthy diet likely promotes good sleep, says researcher Michael A. Grandner, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Also, poor sleep can lead to unhealthy changes in your diet by affecting the hormones that control hunger and appetite, as well as your ability to make healthy choices.
Grandner says that no individual nutrients seem to drive sleep patterns, but researchers may find specific links in the future, and that calorie intake wasnt a major factor across groups. Its more about the quality of what you are eating, not so much how much you are eating., he says. So eat a varied diet which includes a healthy mix of carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals to get the best rest.