Good nutrition equals good sleep!?

Sleep nutritien diet health food eat melatonin tryptophan

Image by Claudio_Scott/Pixabay

Sleep is very important for our health. We should sleep 7-9 hours a night, but around 45% of adults do not achieve this on a regular basis. Can a diet optimized for sleep be a solution?

Researchers from Australia compared several scientific studies to find out how food can positively influence our sleep and identified four factors. The four factors are amino acids, dietary supplements, certain foods, and macronutrients.

1. Amino acids:

More precisely, the amino acid tryptophan. It is converted into serotonin in the brain, which in turn becomes melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone. A diet rich in tryptophan has a positive impact on the duration and quality of sleep. Tryptophan rich foods are cheese, nuts, legumes, eggs and meat.

2. Food supplements:

People who are zinc deficient may sleep better when they take zinc supplements. B vitamin preparations also influence our sleep.

3. Certain foods:

To be more precise: cherries support a healthy sleep duration and quality. They naturally contain melatonin and thus promote sleep.

4. Macronutrients:

Fat, protein and carbohydrates are the three nutrients we consume the most of every day. That is why they are also known as macronutrients. And they too influence our sleep. If you eat a lot of carbohydrates up to four hours before you go to bed, it will shorten the time it takes to fall asleep. A low-calorie, high-protein diet has positive effects on sleep quality. As far as fats are concerned, the study situation is contradicting itself. In some studies, fatty foods led to less sleep, in others they had no effect.

However, you shouldn’t eat anything three to four hours before going to bed. Because that also makes for bad sleep. So, we can definitely influence our sleep with our diet. Of course, this is not solely responsible for our sleep.

You can find more about nutrition here: Does intermittent fasting work? and which is better: a healthy diet or do nutritional supplements do the same?


References:

  • Binks, H., E Vincent, G., Gupta, C., Irwin, C., & Khalesi, S. (2020). Effects of diet on sleep: a narrative review. Nutrients12(4), 936.
  • Lindseth, G., & Murray, A. (2016). Dietary macronutrients and sleep. Western journal of nursing research38(8), 938-958.

Published by Katrin Heidemeyer

Katrin Heidemeyer ist Doktorandin im Bereich Biochemie an der Wageningen University and Research. Durch ihre Arbeit möchte sie das Wissen über die Spezifität von Hormon-Signalen in Pflanzen erweitern. Da ihre Interessen über Pflanzenbiologie hinausreichen, schreibt sie in ihrer Freizeit über diverse Themen. Von Ernährung zu Psychologie, der Neugierde sind keine Grenzen gesetzt.

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