Research has found that diet quality can influence sleep quality – one day of eating more saturated fat and sugar and less fibre can lead to poorer sleep.

The study looked at 26 healthy men and women. They were given a controlled diet (including fresh fruit, yoghurt, milk, sandwiches, rice, vegetables, lasagne, bagels and cold cereal) for the first part of the study, and were allowed to buy their own food for the second part of the study (these meals were more energy dense, included more fat and carbohydrates and less protein).

The researchers found that after a day of selecting their own meals the participants took longer to get to sleep, experienced less time in deep sleep and had a more disrupted sleep.

So what is it about food that affects our sleep? According to the researchers, ‘nutrients impact neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) involved in sleep regulation, particularly certain amino acids (protein) and carbohydrates’.

Do the test for yourself. See how you feel after a night’s sleep when you’ve had a healthy day versus an unhealthy day. You may find another good reason to keep to the healthy ‘diet’!