IF YOU have trouble sleeping, you’ve probably tried everything from a hot bath to a meditation app.
Are you interested in improving your diet?
Experts believe this is the key to better sleep, but it is often overlooked.
Marie-Pierre St-Onge is an Associate Professor at Columbia University in New York. She has been dealing with the subject for almost a decade.
She claimed that food is essential to our health. “Unknown Contributor” Good or bad sleep.
It has produced exactly the same results repeatedly.
Reducing sugar and saturated fat while increasing fiber could be the trick to getting a good night’s sleep, she says.
Dr. St.Onge wrote an article for Knowable Magazine: “Our studies over the past seven years have shown that consuming more fiber and less saturated fat and sugar during the day leads to deeper, less disturbed sleep at night.
“Eating a Mediterranean diet high in fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and olive oil can be especially helpful.”
Med-Diet contains fewer red meats, processed meats and whole-fat dairy products. It also includes more fish-based meals.
“In our study, those who followed this diet were 1.4 times more likely to sleep well and 35 percent less likely to have insomnia,” said Dr. St-Onge.
She explained that these foods are high in tryptophan.
Although the body cannot make this amino acid on its own, it can be found in foods such as chicken, eggs and bananas, cheese, fish and nuts, tofu, and turkey.
Tryptophan is a common dietary supplement that can be used to help relieve sleep disorders such as insomnia.
While there’s no evidence of its effects on sleep, experts believe it could act as a prelude to the release of brain-inducing chemicals.
It increases the body’s own sleep hormone melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone that makes us tired in the evening. It’s the opposite of cortisol that wakes us up in the morning.
The body starts producing it at night when it gets dark outside. It stays elevated all night.
Dr. St-Onge said: “Other foods – including tomatoes, pineapples, tart cherries, bananas, apples, vegetable oils, nuts and animal products – contain melatonin themselves
“Consuming such melatonin-rich foods can also increase your own melatonin levels, although research on this is sparse.”
One of the latest research by Dr. St-Onge was published in the Annual Review of Nutrition magazine in August, Good Health reported by Daily Mail.
According to the paper “Full Diets High in Fruits, Vegetables, Legumes, and Other Sources of Nutritional Triptophan and Melatonin,” these factors have been shown to predict positive sleep outcomes.
These foods are also high in fiber – and most Britons don’t eat the recommended 30g of fiber a day.
Dr. St-Onge said her work showed that fiber was a contributor to the best “sleep efficiency,” Good Health reported.
One diet high in fiber and tryptophan is the Mediterranean diet, which is considered to be the healthiest in the world after numerous research shows its disease preventive compounds.
Catherine Collins, an NHS nutritionist based in Surrey, said, “The Mediterranean diet is the gold standard of diets, there is no doubt about that.
“However, studies haven’t involved enough people or been conducted long enough to be able to say with certainty that certain components of them help sleep.”
She added that she didn’t think there was enough evidence to recommend a single diet or ingredient for improving sleep.
Meanwhile, Dr. St-Onge found that some parts of the diet can ruin sleep – namely saturated fat and sugar.
Saturated fat is the type of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats, and cheese.
Sugar in its refined form, like pastries, cookies, and carbonated drinks, can be very dangerous.
26 volunteers took part in a 2016 study that looked at their eating habits. Then they gave themselves what they wanted for the fifth day.
The researchers constantly monitored their sleep with special devices.
Dr. St-Onge explained: “On the fifth day it took them almost twice as long to fall asleep – 12 minutes longer – than the days before.”
They also spent five less minutes in deep sleep, where cells regenerate and memories are formed.
That may not seem like much. But it’s actually 15 percent less deep sleep than the nights they’d been eating well.
The good news? It seems that eating a healthy diet can have a positive effect on the quality of your sleep.
Experts know this from certain foods and drinks like coffee that can keep you up all night if consumed too close to bedtime.
Dr. St-Onge said, “Losing sleep and poor nutrition can end up being a vicious circle: Lack of sleep leads to poor eating habits, which in turn leads to poor quality sleep.
“But we can break this cycle and turn it around.
“Eating well throughout the day could lead to firmer, more restful sleep – which in turn could help make better food choices.”
Many factors can affect our sleeping habits, including genetics, lifestyle, and our mental and physical health.