Eating less fibre, more saturated fat and more sugar is associated with lighter, less restorative, and more disrupted sleep, the findings showed.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, involved 26 adults - 13 men and 13 women - who had normal weight and an average age of 35 years.

Results showed that greater fibre intake led to more time spent in the stage of deep, slow wave sleep. In contrast, a higher percentage of energy from saturated fat led to less slow wave sleep.

Greater sugar intake was also associated with more arousals from sleep.

The researchers also found that participants fell asleep faster after eating fixed meals provided by a nutritionist, which were lower in saturated fat and higher in protein than self-selected meals.

It took participants an average of 29 minutes to fall asleep after consuming foods and beverages of their choice, but only 17 minutes to fall asleep after eating controlled meals.


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