New sleep research suggests that daytime alertness (or sleepiness) is directly linked to the foods you eat. After examining the new “Overnight Diet” in several of my recent blog posts, it’s nice to see some cutting-edge science backing up the links between diet and sleep.
The new study, published in an online supplement of the journal SLEEP, found that increased fat consumption had an “adverse effect” on how alert test subjects felt. The individuals who made up the 31-person study group were all healthy, non-obese adults without sleep apnea. They all spent four consecutive nights in a sleep lab. On the last day, observers assessed the subjects’ sleepiness with a standardized sleep test known as the “Multiple Sleep Latency Test,” or MSLT. Five meals were provided to allow researchers to assess the effect of diet on sleep.
Fat and Sleepiness
Study results show that higher instances of fat consumption increased daytime drowsiness, while higher carbohydrate intake tended to be associated with greater levels of objective alertness. Protein consumption didn’t seem to correspond to either sleepiness or alertness. The findings held true despite discrepancies in subjects’ gender, BMI, age, total amount of sleep, and total caloric intake.
The new findings will be presented on June 4 at the 27th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC, according to Science Daily. Principal investigator Alexandros Vgontzas, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Penn State’s College of Medicine, will present the research at the Baltimore, MD conference. Vgontzas told Science Daily,” A diet high in fat decreases alertness acutely.” A person’s “ability to function” and also “public safety” can be negatively—and measurably—impacted by high-fat foods… so think twice before you grab that doughnut!