If you're having trouble getting enough sleep every night, it's not impossible your diet has something to do with it.
According to a study that recently appeared in the journal Appetite, eating a greater variety of foods increases the amount of nutrients you take in, which may help you sleep better. This study was conducted by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Time Magazine and Men's Health magazine both reported on the results.
"It reminds people that we have come to the point in our society where we recognize that our diet is important to our health. We don't always act on it, but we recognize it," Michael Grandner, Ph.D., study author and expert from the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the university told Time Magazine. "We haven't come there with sleep yet. People don't brag about how much they eat anymore, we used to, but we don't anymore, but we still show off about how little sleep we get."
According to Men's Health, Grandner and his associates examined data provided by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to bring about these conclusions. Participants slept between five hours per night, which was considered far less than recommended, and nine hours, which is more than the typically encouraged seven or eight hours. Then, the subjects partook in interviews regarding what they had eaten within the last 24 hours.
Grandner told the news source that he suspects getting more nutrients improves the body's ability to function the way it's meant to, which translates into a healthier sleeping routine. While he doesn't know exactly why more nutrients seem to have this effect, he points to lycopene – an antioxidant – vitamin C, selenium, theobromine – which has benefits for heart health – and lauric acid – as elements he supposes aid with sleep.
Sleep may also help with weight management
Following up on the Pennsylvania University's results, The Guardian recalled a July of 2012 study that emerged from the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior in Germany. While plenty of prior studies have indicated that a healthy sleeping regimen can help prevent obesity, this data from European scientists determined that not sleeping enough may leave you feeling hungrier, as well as reduce your ability to burn calories by leaving you with less energy.