IF YOU struggle with sleep, you may have tried everything from hot baths to meditation apps.
But have you considered training your diet?
Experts say this could be the key to improving sleep, but it’s often overlooked.
Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York, has researched the topic for nearly a decade.
She speaks dish is an “unrecognized contributor” to good or bad sleep.
And her work has repeatedly returned similar findings.
She says cutting back on sugar and saturated fat, while increasing fiber, can be the key to a good night’s sleep.
Dr. St-Onge wrote in an article for Magazine worth knowing: “Our studies over the past seven years have shown that eating more fiber, less saturated fat and sugar during the day leads to deeper and less disturbed sleep at night.
“It can be especially helpful to eat a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains and olive oil.”
The Med diet is also low in red and processed meat as well as full-fat dairy, with more fish-based dishes.
“In our study, people who followed this diet were 1.4 times more likely to sleep well at night and 35 percent less likely to have insomnia,” said Dr.
She explains that these foods are rich in tryptophan.
The human body cannot make amino acids on its own but can be consumed in foods such as chicken, eggs, bananas, cheese, fish, nuts and seeds, turkey and tofu.
Tryptophan is commonly used as a supplement to alleviate sleep disorders, including insomnia.
While evidence for its effects on sleep needs to be solidified, experts suggest it may act as a precursor to sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain.
It increases the body’s natural sleep hormone melatonin.
Melatonin makes us feel sleepy in the evening – the opposite of cortisol, which helps wake us up in the morning.
The body begins to produce this substance in the evening when it starts to get dark outside and continues to increase throughout the night.
“Other foods — including tomatoes, pineapples, tart cherries, bananas, apples, vegetable oils, nuts and animal products — contain melatonin,” says Dr.
“Eating such melatonin-rich foods may also increase your own melatonin levels, although research on this is scant.”
One of Dr St-Onge’s most recent research papers was published in the August issue of the journal Nutrition Annual Review, the Daily Mail’s Good healthy reported.
The article states that “an entire diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, and other sources of tryptophan and melatonin” has been shown to predict favorable sleep outcomes.
Dr. St-Onge’s says her work has shown fiber contributes to the best “sleep efficiency”, Good Health reports.
A diet rich in both fiber and tryptophan is Mediterranean diet, Considered the healthiest in the world after several studies showed its disease-preventing links.
Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian based in Surrey, said: “The Mediterranean diet is the gold standard of diets, there’s no doubt about that.
“However, studies to date have not involved enough people or been conducted over a long enough time to be able to say with certainty that its specific ingredients aid in sleep.”
She adds that she believes there is still not enough evidence to recommend a single diet or ingredient as a way to improve sleep.
Saturated fat is the type of fat found in butter, lard, buttermilk, fatty meats, and cheeses.
On the other hand, sugar is most dangerous in its refined form (such as cookies, cakes and carbonated drinks) when eaten in excess of the NHS recommendation of 30g a day.
In a 2016 study, 26 volunteers ate healthy meals for four days, followed by what they wanted on day five.
During that time, the researchers monitored their sleep with specialized machines.
Dr St-Onge said: ‘On day five, it took them almost twice as long to fall asleep – 12 minutes longer – than on the previous day.
They also spent about five minutes less in deep sleep, which is the most restorative stage of sleep when memories are formed and cells regenerate.
It doesn’t seem like much. But in fact, they slept 15% less deeply than on nights they had eaten full.
The good news is that the effects of a healthy diet on sleep seem to occur on the same night.
Experts already know this by looking at specific foods and drinks like coffee, drinking too close to bedtime can keep you up all night.
Dr St-Onge said: “Ultimately, poor sleep and poor diet can be a vicious cycle: Sleep deprivation leads to poor-quality dietary choices, which in turn induce sleep. low quality.
“But we can interrupt this cycle and turn it around.
“Eating well throughout the day can induce better, more restful sleep – which, in turn, can contribute to making better food choices.”
There are a number of factors that contribute to our sleeping habits, from genetics to lifestyle choices and state of physical and mental health.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8188310/diet-trick-cure-sleep-problems/ I’m a Dietitian and Here’s a Simple Tip to Cure Your Sleep Problems