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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Can Changes to Your Diet Help You Sleep Better?

Scientists analyzing 21 studies of dietary interventions for sleep disorders answer the question of whether changing what you eat can change how well you sleep. Here are the top four evidence-based recommendations.


The article “Systematic Review of Dietary Interventions Targeting Sleep Behavior” in the April 2016 edition of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reports studies that find that:


  • Solid meals are more conducive to sleep than liquid meals.
  • High-glycemic index meals eaten four hours before bedtime reduce the amount of time it takes adults to fall asleep. If you are going to indulge in sugary foods, it makes sense to eat them after dinner.
  • Very low-carb meals reduce REM sleeping and dream time.
  • Tryptophan-rich meals (for example, milk and cookies) increase alertness the next morning. However, both the tryptophan-rich food (milk, turkey, tofu, eggs, cheese) and a source of carbohydrate are needed for the tryptophan to reach the brain.
Just changing your diet almost certainly isn't going to be enough to enable you to sleep well, but these changes can help.


Photo credit: By Evgeny Galkovsky aka ZheGal (vk.com/limon_kiosk) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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