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  • Writer's pictureSleep Well Blog

Eat Well for Good Sleep

Updated: Feb 11

Last summer, we began working on an audio guide about food and sleep. Specifically, we explored the research literature in this area to find the latest information on this topic.

Although, I had wanted to share the guide with all of you earlier, we had to complete other projects before we could return to this one. However, we've finally completed the audio guide!

You can listen to an excerpt of it on the My Sleep Journey podcast on Anchor. If you weren't aware of the podcast, you can actually now find it on this website. Of course, you can also listen to it on favourite platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, among others. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast on the platform of your choice so that you can be notified of new episodes.

Plus, here's the link to the excerpt on this particular episode (Season 2: Ep. 2) on Spotify:

Now, I do know that some people prefer to read, so it has been transcribed for you, right here:

Dr. Sheryl Guloy (00:00):

Hi, Arturo, how are you doing?

Dr. Arturo Santisteban (00:02):

I'm doing well. Thank you. How are you, Sheryl?

Dr. Sheryl Guloy (00:04):

I'm doing pretty good, um, fine, actually. And so one of the things that we wanted to do was really - to really explore the relationship between food and sleep, just in general, what food and sleep, how they're related, you know, what they - how they interact with one another and what they can do for you. So, what did you find, Arturo?

Dr. Arturo Santisteban (00:30):

So, there was a lot of information that I found regarding different studies that have been done with food and how certain foods impact your sleep. And it's - one of the difficult things with - just to like, preface all of this, one of the difficult things with studies regarding how nutrition affects our life is that it's generally a hard - a hard topic to study since, you know, everybody eats and it's hard to control for a long period of time, but you know, quite a few common elements showed up in many of the different studies that I found. So - for example, one of the main things that I found, and this is not going to be surprising to anyone, but it's still very important to underline it because it's one of the simpler things we can do - is that fruits and vegetables or having a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is good for sleep. And what has been found is that people that have higher diets with -- diets with higher fruits and vegetables have higher levels of certain good compounds in our - in their blood, like lycopenes, which is one of the antioxidants that are found in tomatoes and different levels - higher levels of vitamins, and this is also associated with having better sleep.

Dr. Sheryl Guloy (01:59):

Right. Exactly. You know -- it's so important to have this understanding because when we look at - when we look at a healthy diet, just in general, it's good. So it's really, actually very - very comforting that we don't have to rewrite everything for sleep. And we -- what we do know about a healthy diet is focus on the fruits and vegetables and a variety of them, and it's good for you. So, if it's good for your body, what we're finding is, in general, then it's good for your health and it's also good for, for sleep. And so can you give me some examples?

Dr. Arturo Santisteban (02:39):

Yes. One of the studies that were done wa - with regards to kiwifruit was that people were given two kiwifruits per day, one hour before bedtime for four weeks. And this was found to improve - increase sleep duration. So, people slept more, and they also had better sleep efficiency, which means that they slept - more of the time that they spent in bed was actually spent sleeping. And this is thought to be caused because kiwifruits are high in serotonin. And serotonin, which is a important transmitter in the brain, promotes the start of sleep and maintaining sleep throughout the night. And with regards to tart cherry juice, um, I believe that tart cherry juice is high in melatonin, and this has been found to improve sleep since melatonin is one of those, um, is the hormone that our body uses to regulate our sleep cycles and promote sleep at night. And it decreases in the morning -- or during the daytime. So, we are awake during the day.

Dr. Sheryl Guloy (03:47):

Right. And so tart cherry juice and kiwifruit. All right. So, the next thing is the influence of complex carbs and refined sugar. I mean we always think about, you know, that everything actually breaks down into sugar at one point -- and carbs themselves can be broken down into sugars as well. However, what we're talking about, and we want to make a distinction in is the differences in what you eat in terms of refined sugar - so, refined sugar, like your sugar that you find in many recipes - as well as complex carbohydrates, right? So, these would be your whole grains, or it would be your oatmeal, things like that. Right. And it actually is just, in general, healthier for you. And Arturo is going to share with us what he's found in terms of complex carbohydrates and refined sugar and their effects on sleep. What did you find, Arturo?

Dr. Arturo Santisteban (04:54):

As you said, Sheryl, refined sugars are generally not very good for your health, and they're also specifically bad for - for your sleep. People that have diets high in refined sugars have been found to have worse sleep. And, specifically, they've also been found to have reduced, uh, amounts of deep sleep, which deep sleep is where you really get more of the restorative, um, sleep feeling. But however, there's, you know, there's not just like refined carbohydrates, as you mentioned, there's more complex carbohydrates and these complex carbohydrates have been found to help improve sleep continuity, and sleep continuity is like when you are able to sleep throughout the night. And another important thing to consider when it comes to carbohydrates is that fast-absorbing carbohydrates...

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Honestly, this topic was fascinating, and for a limited time, you can listen to the whole audio guide and access the complete transcript for FREE. Click this link for access:

The relationship between food and sleep is fascinating, especially because these are two cornerstones of good health. We'll definitely be coming up with new guides and training for you in this area. In the meantime, download this audio guide because I assure you that you'll definitely learn something about eating for good sleep!

I wish you a good night's rest.


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