A Well-Balanced Diet Promotes Better Sleep

A small study shows better nutrition leads to better ZZZ’s.

Medically reviewed in July 2020

It seems like there’s always a new study suggesting more ways we can boost our sleep quality, or different habits and foods that rob us of a restful night’s sleep. The latest sleep study claims that a healthy diet, specifically foods rich in fiber and protein, leads to better sleep, while a diet rich in saturated fats and sugar encourages poor sleep.

Previous studies focused on the ways carbohydrates affect sleep patterns. Do they help you get to sleep faster or give you an energy rush that keeps you awake? This particular study suggests that it’s the type of carb that matters; fiber appears to promote deeper sleep, while sugar and saturated fats are associated with waking up throughout the night.

Researchers monitored the diets and sleeping patterns of 26 study participants, aged 30 to 45, and of average weight. The participants spent five nights in a sleep lab and and had their sleep tracked using polysomnography, a test that records body functions like brain waves, position, breathing rate and eye movement during sleep, each night. What did researchers find? On night three, after having controlled, nutritious meals, they spent only 17 minutes trying to fall asleep; on night five, after choosing what they wanted to eat, took 29 minutes to fall asleep.

The study was small, so researchers admit further investigation into their findings is needed, but a healthy diet, rich in protein and fiber may help you sleep better at night and decrease your risk for chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

If you’re worried you’re not getting enough fiber, legumes, whole-grains, fruits like bananas or apples, and almonds are easy to incorporate into your diet. Try these healthy foods for better ZZZ’s.

More On

The Ultimate Iced Tea: Green!

article

The Ultimate Iced Tea: Green!
If you missed one of our most popular blogs on just how good green tea is for you, take a quick detour -- 6 Reasons to Drink Green Tea -- and then com...
5 Hearty (and Healthy) Comfort Foods Under 600 Calories

slideshow

5 Hearty (and Healthy) Comfort Foods Under 600 Calories
Enjoy your favorite meals without the guilt.
Are You Eating Enough Protein?

article

Are You Eating Enough Protein?
Perhaps you’ve seen the headlines: Americans eat too much protein. But the truth is more complicated. The amount you need depends on many factors incl...
5 Key Nutrients and How to Get Enough of Them

article

5 Key Nutrients and How to Get Enough of Them
In a society that’s become so focused on losing weight, it’s second nature for many people to check nutrition labels for a single number: calories. An...
Twice-Baked Cheesy Potatoes Recipe

article

Twice-Baked Cheesy Potatoes Recipe
Need to fuel up for a long bike run or hard workout? This recipe is packed with carbs for energy, calcium for your bones and muscles and it only has 3...