Eat right for a good sleep



  • Read on to know what nutrients you need to add to your diet for a peaceful nightly nap


20 May 2013:A new study has, for the first time, shown that certain nutrients may play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration, and that people who report eating a large variety of foods — an indicator of an overall healthy diet — had the healthiest sleep patterns.


Short sleep

Experts suggest that short sleep is an issue when the body doesn’t get enough of water along with the following:

1. Vitamin C: Good sources of vitamin C include strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, papaya, black currant, kiwi and bell peppers. An adequate amount of Vitamin C is also known to build a strong immune system and helps fight diseases.

2. Selenium: Found in nuts, meat and shellfish, Selenium is a trace mineral important for all body functions and is vital for immunity. Non-vegetarian sources of selenium are tuna, sardines, oysters, shrimps, clams, chicken, turkey, beef, liver, lamb, pork and eggs. Vegetarian sources include nuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, onions, wheatgerm, barley, brown rice and oats.

PS: Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two of the most abundant carotenoids found in green leafys. Scientists say how our bodies react to these chemicals can cause bad sleep disturbances.


Long sleep

According to the study, long sleep is associated with less intake of total carbohydrates and other nutrients like:

1. Theobromine: It is found in tea and chocolate. In fact, it is present in all cocoa products. Though it is a heart stimulant increasing heart beat, it also dilates the blood vessel to lower the pressure.

2. Decanoic acid: A saturated fat, it is found in mother’s milk, dairy products, nuts, seeds and their oils. It is good for the heart and helps reduce total cholesterol. Its antibacterial properties also help fight gastritis.

3. Choline: Found in eggs and fatty meats that includes beef, liver, fish, crabs, eggs, cauliflower, tofu, almonds, peanut butter and Navy beans, it contributes to the structure of our cell membranes. It protects the liver from fat deposits and damage, and also offers protection against cardiovascular disease.


About the study

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania analysed data from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related questions.



Food variety was highest in normal sleepers and lowest in very short sleepers. Differences across groups were found for many types of nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The authors found that total caloric intake varied across groups. Short sleepers consumed the maximum calories, followed by normal sleepers. They were followed by very short sleepers who were followed by long sleepers.


PS: The finding is important, as it is known that short sleep duration is associated with weight gain, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.



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