Here’s what you need to eat more of if you want to sleep better

If you have insomnia or ever toss and turn at night, wondering why you can’t fall asleep, a new study says it could very well be due to what you ate during the day. Specifically, foods high in fiber will help you sleep better, the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine reports. In the study, researchers kept track of the food consumption and sleep patterns of 26 adults, 13 men and 13 women, aged 20 to 45 years old over five nights in a sleep lab. The more fiber they ate in the day, the better.

Yep, people who ate a high-fiber diet had deeper, more restorative sleep versus those who consumed more sugar and saturated fats. Darn it! Wouldn’t the opposite be amazing? Eat all the Skittles and M&Ms you want and sleep 8-10 hours straight, no problem? But, the study found that the less fiber and more saturated fat and sugar intake, the less restorative sleep you’ll get, with more chances of waking up. The study found that more fiber equaled more time in “slow-wave sleep,” meaning a dreamless deep stage of sleep.

Plus, aside from helping you catch more Zzzs, a high-fiber diet helps ward off many health ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, and reducing the chance of obesity. So, it’s a win-win. High-fiber diet = better sleep—check! High-fiber diet = fewer health issues—check! More sleep = happier, healthier us—check!

According to the Mayo Clinic, women should aim for 21-25 grams of fiber per day, and men should aim for 30-38 grams. I know… fiber. It doesn’t sound fun, but there’s actually a lot of fun things to eat that have it, that you probably didn’t even realize are great sources of it. Okay, maybe not as fun as Skittles, but close (and just as colorful). Some of them are:

  • One cup of split peas, boiled (16.3 grams)
  • One cup of lentils, boiled (15.6 grams)
  • One cup of boiled peas (8.8 grams)
  • One cup of raspberries (8 grams)
  • Medium-sized apple, with skin (4.4. grams)
  • One cup of instant oatmeal, cooked (4 grams)
  • A banana (3.1 grams)

As Dr. St-Onge said, changes in sleep were seen even after changing to a high-fiber diet for one day. Just one day. That seems easy enough to try and well worth the extra shut-eye, don’t you think?

(Images via NBC, Giphy)

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