Does what you eat affect your sleep?

Based on current scientific research, it is impossible to determine whether the proportion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in our diet has an effect on our sleep and quality. The studies were very short and the number of participants was small. In addition, the diet used was often extreme and not feasible. On the other hand, good sleep hygiene, which avoids alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals before bed, has proven its worth

Where does this news come from?

American scientists conducted a literature study to find out the effect of proteins, fats and carbohydrates on sleep and sleep quality. To be included in the survey, sleep and sleep quality must be measured objectively.

After a comprehensive literature review, they found a total of six observational studies and fourteen intervention studies. In an intervention study, the researcher does something that affects the participants’ lives. For example, participants are given a certain diet (intervention group), and then the effects of this ‘intervention’ are compared with another group of participants who did not receive the diet (control group). In an observational study, the researcher only notes: the participants do not have to do anything, they are just being observed.

consequences

The first thing to note is that there are significant design differences between studies. As a result, it was not possible to analyze the studies together. It also makes it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions. The researchers tried anyway and concluded that:

Carbohydrates have a positive and negative effect. Many refined carbohydrates (such as sugar and white bread) appear to have a negative effect on deep sleep. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber will have a positive effect on other aspects of sleep such as REM sleep and sleep efficiency. It is found in whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. Fats, especially saturated fats (in animal products) will have a negative effect, and Proteins seem to have a positive effect on.

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How do you explain this news?

Both observational and intervention studies were included in this literature review. The first is interesting to establish a relationship but cannot refer to a cause and effect relationship. For example, a lack of sleep can have an effect on nutrition rather than the other way around.

Intervention studies can provide clarity if they are well designed and implemented. For example, it is important that: the number of test subjects is large enough, the intervention period is long enough and the dietary intervention regimen is representative and feasible. Current intervention studies report lower results in these areas. The number of subjects was small and the intervention period was often limited to a few nights or days. In addition, diets were often extreme and practically useless.

Finally, the measured effects are rather small. So this literature study cannot prove that nutrition can actually make a difference. But the chances of that happening are rather slim.

sleep better?

What we do know is that it worksGood, healthy sleep: Don’t drink too much alcohol, don’t drink too much coffee and don’t eat too much before.

conclusion

Based on current scientific research, it is impossible to determine whether the proportion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in our diet has an effect on our sleep and quality. The studies were very short and the number of participants was small. In addition, the diet used was often extreme and not feasible. On the other hand, good sleep hygiene, which avoids alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals before bed, has proven useful.

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